2022 World Final

17-21 October, Tenerife (Spain)

The fifth and final qualifying tournament of the 2020 World Corporate Golf Challenge (WCGC) season in Portugal took place at Axis Ponte de Lima, a unique course in the history of national golf.

WCGC Portugal 2020 Axis Ponte de Lima

The fifth and final qualifying tournament of the 2020 World Corporate Golf Challenge (WCGC) season in Portugal took place at Axis Ponte de Lima, a unique course in the history of national golf.

Axis Ponte de Lima is the only golf course designed by one of the greatest champions in the history of this sport in our country. Daniel Silva, who lives in Canada for many years now, was, 30 years ago, the first professional Portuguese golfer to succeed internationally. Back in 1990, he won the European Tour Qualifying School and two years later became the first Portuguese to win a European Tour title, a feat only matched by Filipe Lima in 2004 and Ricardo Santos in 2012.

It was this Daniel who designed the beautiful golf course in the Portuguese green region of Minho, together with his brother David Silva, a former president of the PGA of Portugal and the current elite golf coach in Finland.

Anyone who knows Daniel remembers that he was a persistent professional player, who excelled for evolved technique. When faced with the challenging land that lay ahead, he imagined an equally demanding layout from a technical point of view.

WCGC Portugal 2020 Axis Ponte de Lima
Not everyone wins at Axis Ponte de Lima. It is not enough to hit long and straight. You need to have a game strategy, to feel the hazards, and to have the right bet for the risk-reward ratio in each hole. The course has already hosted several events of the PGA Portugal Tour and the last time that the Portuguese professionals played there, in 2018, only two players managed to play under Par after the 36 holes… and with only -1!

Nelson Cavalheiro won and the current president of the PGA of Portugal, at the time at the age of 48, used all his experience and wisdom to beat in the play-off the youngster and reckless João Carlota, who at the time played on the Challenge Tour.

Therefore, Ramiro Vieira Pinto is right when, after winning WCGC’s Ponte de Lima qualifying round, he declared to the SIC Notícias Golf Report TV show: «WCGC has a lot of tradition and when we come to this tournament it is to try win and not just to be a part of it. Whoever comes only to play, that’s fine, but we came to win. And to achieve it we had to practice hard. It is not enough just to show up and try to play well. You have to practice every day».

Daniel and David Silva would be proud to listen to it.

WCGC Portugal 2020 Axis Ponte de Lima

An attacking game from Audi

Ramiro Vieira Pinto spent 12 years without competing in the WCGC but decided to accept the challenge posed to him by Hélder Lopes, an Audi sales manager in Oporto, who was himself an elite athlete – one of the best Portuguese tennis players of his generation.

«I called a friend to play with me, César Campos, and we played an attacking style», Ramiro Vieira Pinto told Golftattoo. An extremely accurate partner since, together, they led Audi’s No. 1 team to dominate both the gross and net standings: Ramiro with 29 net points and 26 gross, César with 38 and 34, respectively.

«We played an attacking game because we knew there was no more chance to go to the Final. We gave it all, all the time. On the tee, always with the drive; the approaches attacking the flags, and the putt meant to pass the hole. As this event is an individual one, and we are not playing in pairs, we prepared the tournament by playing regular tournaments, practising daily, and we managed to qualify for the Final», he specified.

WCGC Portugal 2020 Axis Ponte de Lima

In the Stableford net standings, the Audi-1 squad got 67 points, leaving the home team in 2nd place, consisting of Bruno Miguel Teixeira (37) and Tiago Araújo (28). In the gross standings, Audi-1 reached 60 points, beating by 4 the Executive Digest team of António Costa (23) and Tiago Costa (33).

Road to WCGC Portugal National Final

These runners-up teams also qualified for the Portuguese Final, scheduled for the Montado Hotel & Golf Resort, in Palmela, on August the 29th.

WCGC Portugal 2020 Axis Ponte de Lima

The other corporations teams that qualified in Ponte de Lima for the Final were the following: Axis Ponte de Lima-1 (64 net points) by Carlos Filipe Silva (32) and Manuel Francisco Miguel (32); Litel (62), by Luís Carneiro (35) and Pedro Nuno Carneiro (27); Clipraxis (61) by Abílio Nascimento Ramos (24) and José João Soares (37); Costa Verde-2 (61) by Henrique José Mateus (31) and José Domingos Silva (30).

In the Final be aware of Audi again. Ramiro Vieira Pinto is motivated and promises to fight to try his place in the World Final: «Today I did not make any putts, and we won. Therefore, in the Final, it can only be better. Today, my partner did 2 over the Par and I shot 10 over, but I think next time I shall also play 2 over. Wait for me».

WCGC Portugal 2020 Axis Ponte de Lima
Axis Ponte de Lima will be remembered in 2020 for having the biggest field of the year – 40 teams and 80 players – and the golf course manager, La Salete Correia, could not be happier.

«It was great to host the WCGC again. I think it was our fifth year in a row. It is a very prestigious tournament. People recognize the brand, recognize the sponsors, and come naturally to play. We would have had more players if it were possible, but nowadays, with the health limitations, we cannot have as many players as we would like, but it is essential for us, and we hope to keep it for many years here », she said.

Axis Ponte de Lima, a historic course

Pedro Castelo Branco, the general manager of Golftattoo Eventos – a group that, for the first time, promoted the WCGC Portugal in 2020 –, greatly appreciated Axis Ponte de Lima, even though, due to the pandemic, he was forced to hold the tournament later than originally planned.

«Axis Ponte de Lima showed, from the beginning, a lot of enthusiasm for having this event. The course was presented in excellent condition. This time of year is not easy for maintenance, due to the heat and the lack of rain for more than 40 days, but even so, the course is impeccable», emphasized Pedro Castelo Branco.
WCGC Portugal 2020 Axis Ponte de Lima

La Salete Correia explained that she tried to have the course as good as possible and by the end of it, everything was excellent: «The entire maintenance team made an extraordinary effort to make sure everything went smoothly. Obviously, at this time of year, the fairways are a little more penalized by the heat, but even so, I think it is excellent and that we managed to host the WCGC with a lot of quality».

All the players agreed and some of them took the chance to work while playing, as João Potier told us, the general director of Mundiarroz, that sells Garofalo in Portugal. In this event, João Potier was also keen to sponsor the tournament with another one of his brands, Saludães: «We have already met very interesting people in these tournaments and established some partnerships. The networking is done in while playing and new opportunities always arise».

The five WCGC Portugal qualifying tournaments were played at Palmares Ocean Living & Golf, Guardian Bom Sucesso Resort, Golf Estoril Championship Course, Santo da Serra Golf Club, and Axis Ponte de Lima. Pedro Castelo Branco can now feel relieved and proud of overcoming the storm created by the pandemic.
WCGC Portugal 2020 Axis Ponte de Lima

«This is the first year that we are in charge of promoting this event and now that we reached the end of the qualifying stages I am in heaven. We were getting more and more players in our tournaments. Moreover, we had an atypical year. We are all forced into unexpected confinement in our homes and that put in danger the second half of the tour. But with this restart, thanks to the support of our partners and the enthusiasm that we got from the players and their corporate teams, we decided to keep going. It was worth it because we had a huge answer from them in Madeira two weeks ago and now even more in Ponte de Lima. It was the biggest field of the entire tour. So, I guess we shall have a promising Portuguese Final».

Hugo Ribeiro / Golftattoo