Tournoi du Printemps 2018             As we scurried back to the Oitavos Thursday evening after a brief scramble over the seaside rocks, completely soaked by the sudden downpour, prospects for our weekend looked compromised. We were informed that the unprecedented  wet weather preceding our visit was likely to continue.

However, our spirits were revived by the vinho verde at the Entráguas Restaurant in Cascais,  and the Aguilho shrimps and seafood Cataplana that followed. Matters continued to improve Friday morning, with the delightful drive along the coastal national park and up into the hills to Penha Longa for the pairs competition. The sun shone, the fairways glistened, and the scent of eucalyptus was wafted by the gentle breeze. All was perfect apart from the odd plugged ball – and the monstrous roar of the infernal machines racing round the nearby Estoril track, bikes in the morning, and after a brief respite, cars in the afternoon. Nevertheless, the Trent Jones course with its signature roman aqueduct in the middle provides many an unexpected golfing challenge, and my partner and myself discovered as both our puts disappeared off the green and rolled 30 metres down the hill at the 10th. Our score was someway below the 41 point amassed by Ruedi and newcomer Hervé Coiquaud.

to embark on a quick cycle tour before the first tee off at noon, even though the only ones to try the open air seawater pool were a pair of mallards. On the Oitavos course, a short walk from the hotel, the narrow fairways on the opening holes prompted frequent visits to some remarkable rough –adorned by blooming flowers of desert typology and colourful flying finches. In contrast to PL, Oitavos is on a sandy base, “preferred lies are never allowed” the starter firmly informed us. In addition to the magnificent sea vistas, the relatively flat terrain was a relief from the steep climbs of the previous day.

Our round could not be qualified as fast, with one party taking 6 hours due to slow replacement of their broken down buggy, but no one cared, in such magnificent surrounds and congenial company! We were joined  by more ‘locals’, Rory, another newcomer, Fredrik, whose last SGS outing was many years back, and Salvador, who organised the first SGS visit to Portugal to Quinta de Marinha in 1995. Hervé & Fredrik are both members, but despite returning very creditable scores, could not match the 34 points of Guy Gibbons. Rory’s consolation came when the innocent hand of his spouse extracted his card at the wildcard draw.

The rain or rather drizzle, caught up with us on Sunday at Belas, another course up in the hills, but this time part of a vast real estate development. Not only were the green to tee distances immense, but everything seemed uphill – the architect Rocky Roquemore gave full reign to his imagination in creating the course, resembling in some ways Augerville, plus the houses. Fortunately, the drizzle subsided, and we were able to address the problem of landing at least one ball on the green to take advantage of the ‘second put given’ rule in the scramble. The winning group managed to put all four into the water at one hole, doubtless the fluid swing of another newcomer and captain, Leo, helped them pip Torquil’s troops, despite their 6 birdies. Back in the clubhouse we were treated to restoring buffet lunch, before regretfully taking leave after a memorable three days.

Our thanks to Tim, for his meticulous organisation, especially logistical, our sponsors Françoise Montenay of Chanel, Olivier de La Giraudière of Lanson, and Reinhold Geiger of  L’Occitane, and our local non playing captain,  Nuno, prevented by family duties from joining us on the courses.

Results

 

                    

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