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Angel Hidalgo hoping to shine again on home soil at scene of 'par of the century'

Angel Hidalgo hoping to shine again on home soil at scene of 'par of the century'

Angel Hidalgo is hoping to give himself more reason for cheer on his return to the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters 12 months on from a miraculous par save which helped secure his DP World Tour card for the ongoing season.

During the third round of last year’s tournament, the Spaniard pulled off what was described on commentary as “the par of the century”, before recently revealing he later underwent physio treatment after an overly enthusiastic celebration.

After his second shot hit a tree and went around 40 yards in the wrong direction, he struck his third to the semi-rough by the green and went on to hole the putt from 12 feet.

That proved to be a key moment for Hidalgo as he went on to finish fourth on home soil and secure his full playing privileges for the 2023 campaign in the process.

But ahead of being willed on again by home crowds, Hidalgo revealed he may need to take greater care if he is to avoid a repeat celebration-related injury this week.

“I need to say I saw the video [of that hole] last year a thousand times,” he said.

“Sometimes you flip the coin and that is what happens. That was a key moment of course because if I had hit that shot poorly, I probably would have made double bogey or triple bogey.

“That might have (unsettled) me in that moment of pressure on Saturday, playing in the last group.

“I remember I needed to go to the physio after that because I remember when I threw the pump, I felt something weird in my back.

“I played all the back nine on Saturday with a little pain and I needed to go to the physio after the round.

“With the adrenaline all was good, but when I finished the round and went to the physio, I had a lot of pain in my back.”

Such was the significance of the prize at stake for him last year, Hidalgo celebrated pars on the back nine like he was on the cusp of the title despite finishing 11 shots back of winner Adrian Otaegui.

The 25-year-old currently sits 107th in the season-long standings, so he is keen to secure a strong finish to the campaign with next week's Commercial Bank Qatar Masters offering players the last opportunity in the regular season to play for their full playing privileges.

His best finish of the season so far came on the Rolex Series stage as he finished in a tie for eighth at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic, but he arrives in southern Spain after three missed cuts in his last five events.

Reflecting on his first full campaign on the DP World Tour, he said: "I have learned a lot.

"I have played with really, really good golf players and honestly I learned to be patient in the tournaments.

"I think I was a really aggressive player, but I practice a lot with Jorge Campillo, Nacho Elvira and they have give me advice; don't stress, don't care if you miss five cuts, that we have enough tournaments in the year to maintain the card or go to Dubai.

"If you play with calmness and you play solid golf, you will do well enough to earn your card for the next year."

Hidalgo, along with the rest of the field, faces a new challenge as the DP World Tour remains in Spain for the second of back-to-back weeks and, with the course in pristine condition, the 25-year-old spoke glowingly about the DP World Tour's newest venue.

“Normally I practise here in Sotogrande, so it is like being at home, it's so good,” he said.

“It's a beautiful golf course,” he said.

“The Amen Corner is the 12th green, 13th and 14th tee. It is probably one of the most beautiful golf courses on Tour.

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