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Saturday, 16 October 2010
Spectators hats during the first round of the Benahavis Senior Masters  (Getty Images)
Spectators hats during the first round of the Benahavis Senior Masters (Getty Images)

Our man at La Quinta Golf and Country Club brings you all of the action from behind the scenes at the Benahavis Senior Masters.

It’s a tough life...

From the sumptuous glamour of Cannes last week, the Senior Tour has headed south to the, well, sumptuous glamour of Marbella for this week’s Benahavis Senior Masters. It’s a tough life being on Tour sometimes, isn’t it? Swap the waterfront in Cannes and the French Riviera for the Puerto Buenos and the Costa Del Sol and you can’t have too many complaints!

This is the second year the Senior Tour has visited La Quinta Golf and Country Club and there have been a few tweaks to the course since last season’s inaugural event. Some have been cosmetic, such as the new lake on the 17th, some to toughen the greens, whereas others such as the new 11th hole have been enforced due to Spanish laws governing the proximity of golf courses and houses. Of course this wasn’t an issue for any of our pros last year but an errand shot or two from your correspondent might have been a different story. Anyway, the result is a slightly tougher test for the players this week but a nonetheless picturesque course for the third from last event of the 2010 campaign.

A legend’s touch

The aforementioned changes to La Quinta Golf and Country Club were all overseen by the course designer and Senior Tour professional, Manuel Piñero. The 58 year old is something of a legend in Spanish golf, not only for his nine European Tour victories but, perhaps more notably, for his contribution to The Ryder Cup. Piñero won four out of five points in The 1985 Ryder Cup at The Belfry, teaming up alongside the great Seve Ballesteros to win two foursomes and one fourball match. Even more memorable was his performance in the singles. As Sam Torrance relayed at the Senior Tour dinner at Woburn last month, Piñero came bounding into the team round proclaiming ‘I want Wadkins, I want Wadkins’ in reference to the American Lanny Wadkins who, at the time, was one of – if not the – most formidable match play opponent. As Sam told: “There were 11 other guys sitting there thinking ‘you can have Wadkins’!” Needless to say the Spanish Matador was granted his wish and went out and beat Wadkins 3 and 1, retiring from The Ryder Cup with a 100 per cent singles record. Inspiring stuff, and a story that Sam also conveyed to the European Team at The Celtic Manor prior to their own inspirational victory over the United States earlier this month.

Start where you left off...

You could forgive Frenchman Marc Farry for feeling a little bit fatigued this week given us victory last week in the Cannes Mougins Masters which he helped organise. However there were no such signs when he began his first round on Friday. Marc admitted last week he was tired following the exertion of staging the event in Cannes, and the travel problems created by the French transport strike did not help, but he started here in Marbella exactly where he left off in France, eagling the opening hole at La Quinta to soar to the top of the leaderboard. Perhaps tiredness set in midway through his round as he dropped a couple of shots but a one under par 70 leaves Marc in a strong position to challenge for this third victory of the season.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1RUANGKIT, BoonchuTHA18-16
T2MASON, CarlENG18-9
T2GOULD, JohnENG18-9
4QUIROS, JuanESP18-7
T5SMIT, BertusRSA18-6
T5CUNNING, MikeUSA18-6
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