Our team at the Apulia San Domenico Grand Final bring you all the action from on and off the course from the Challenge Tour season finale…
Metal Mike a Strapping Young Lad
Lloyd on the numbers in Puglia
One characteristic which must exist between a player and his caddie is trust, and Chris Lloyd must have been slightly worried when he stepped onto the 13th tee during his second round, only to hear his bag-carrier and close confidante urge him on with some much-needed, but numerically incorrect, advice.
Lloyd explains: “I didn’t get off to the best of starts and then I was stood on the 13th tee and my caddy said come on now, three birdies in the last five, to which I responded, ‘by the way, there are six holes left’!”
The Englishman admitted that it was the moment of humour, and encouragement, which saved his round and boosted him to a five under par second round of 66, which moved him to tied second place and two shots off the lead.
“It was quite funny but I went on a nice little run at the end then with four birdies in the last six,” he said. “I didn’t start well and then I just waited. I came with the attitude of trying to be as patient but as carefree as I can because I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself.”
“I know if I do the things I can do and control the things I want to control I’m sure I’ll give myself a good chance come Saturday.”
We’re sure that Lloyd’s caddie will attest that his moment of mathematical madness was all a ploy to cheer the young Bristol lad up and get him going but whether it was intended or not, it was certainly an inspiring pep talk and if he keeps it up, he might just have a European Tour bag on his shoulders next season.
Espen would rather have a bowl of Coco Pops
One of the major luxuries of the Apulia San Domenico Grand Final is the stunning array of food on offer at various times of the day in the southern Italy venue. Beautiful fresh pastas and pizzas in the evening, a dazzling lunch buffet and a breakfast full of fresh fruit, silky scrambled eggs and delicious breads. Norwegian Espen Kofstad, however, has little interest in that, and instead was spotted shovelling Coco Pops into his bowl on the morning of the second day's play. It certainly seemed to do the Challenge Tour winner plenty of good as he opened his second round with two birdies in the opening three holes to move into a share for the lead. Coco Pops: the breakfast of champions!
Madsen emerges from his spot of bother
Morten Orum Madsen got himself into a little bit of spotting bother on the opening day of the Apulia San Domenico, but emerged with his head held high after driving to the rough on the 17th hole. The Dane, his fellow players and referee Kevin Feeney spent four minutes and forty seconds searching for the ball and it was looking for all the world that Madsen would have to return to the tee. With referee Feeney keeping a close eye on the stopwatch they were anxious moments, but at the last minute he managed to locate his roving white rock, before making a solid par on the driveable par four on the way to a level round of 71.
Kristoffer Broberg remains something of an enigma on the Challenge Tour, and the general feeling is one of disbelief that he has seemingly come from nowhere and won four titles in the six times he has played. He is 26 which, after all, is not that young in golfing terms, given that Matteo Manassero won twice on The European Tour before his 18th birthday and Rory McIlroy was 22 when he won his first Major. There are also usually signs that a player is set for superstardom – playing in the Walker Cup, for example, or representing your country at junior level, or, in McIlroy’s case, appearing on television programmes aged nine chipping a golf ball into a washing machine. Apparently Broberg’s close friend Alex Noren said a couple of years ago that there was this kid at his local driving range who was a genius at trick shots, and raved about his talent, but no one had ever heard of him. We will endeavour this week to reveal more about the mysterious Broberg…
Some news from the tabloids has crept into many conversations at the Apulia San Domenico Grand Final, as it was revealed that singer and actor Justin Timberlake married his girlfriend Jessica Biel at this resort just a few days ago. Apparently the American former N-Snyc star hired out the entire resort and invited about 200 guests, all of whom did not know where they were going when first told about the wedding. Timberlake is also a fan of golf and compered the opening ceremony of the Ryder Cup last month, so we will find out if he tackled the course our Challenge Tour players are about to take on…