Open de Portugal at Royal Óbidos. Ricardo Melo Gouveia enters the top 10 and confirms title candidacy
Ricardo Melo Gouveia opened the book and proved why he had submitted his candidacy for the title even before the beginning of the 59th Open de Portugal at Royal Óbidos. Today’s second round (Friday) of the 2020 absolute national champion was the fifth best result of the day, in 66 strokes, 6 under par followed by Seve Ballesteros, throwing him into 10th place with a total of 138 (-6).
Pedro Figueiredo and Miguel Gaspar also passed the cut, respectively in 36th and 46th positions, with these three players being the only Portuguese players to qualify for the last two days of the competition, out of a total of 15 entries.
“Figgy” equaled the Par-72 of the field and kept the 2 strokes under Par (now with an aggregate of 142) he had already had from the first round, while Gaspar completed the second round in 73 (+1), passing the cut even “on fire” with a total of 143 (-1).
One of the great candidates to move forward didn’t even make it onto the field. Vítor Lopes, the best Portuguese last year, when he was ranked 7th after leading the competition, was forced to give up. «Vítor Lopes withdrew from the competition because he has tonsillitis and 39 degrees of fever», specified the national technical director of the FPG, João Coutinho.
The 59th Portuguese Open at Royal Óbidos has a new commander, the Norwegian Kristian Krogh Johannessen, who equaled the 66 (-6) lap of Melo Gouveia and rose from 4th to 1st position, totaling 133 (- 11). He is chased for just 1 more shot by the German Marcel Schneider (68 + 66).
Kristian Krogh Johannessen, 26, pursues his first title on the Challenge Tour, but this year he has already added five top-10, while Marcel Schneider is one of the 13 players who came to Portugal already with a title won in 2021, in his case , in the Czech Republic in July, having been runner-up last week at the Provence Open in France.
Johannessen, Schneider and Melo Gouveia have a lot in common. Not only do they present themselves as serious contenders for the title, they not only signed 66 (-6) cards today, but also – and above all – did not suffer any bogey in this second round. And at Royal Óbidos Spa & Golf Resort it is essential to avoid mistakes.
“A few more putts have already fallen and that was the difference in today’s lap. I made very few mistakes. When they happened, I was able to shoot and putt and I was never at great risk of making bogeys. Keep your confidence high and I feel I have a good chance of fighting for the title on Sunday,” said 30-year-old Ricardo Melo Gouveia. The Quinta do Lago player passed the cut for the second year in a row.
The other two Portuguese who went ahead also have reasons to celebrate, even if they fell short of what they wanted on this second day. «The par on the field is neither a good nor a bad result. I felt like I played more than that. I didn’t do well on the greens. I made a three-putt green and missed several birdie opportunities”, lamented 30-year-old Pedro Figueiredo.
“Unfortunately, I had a bad shot on the 15th, maybe because of overconfidence. I went to the water, did a double-bogey and went from a situation where my head was up to suddenly find myself fighting for the cut”, complained Miguel Gaspar, 29 years old.
It is certain that Pedro Figueiredo wanted more, after yesterday’s positive lap of -2. “In two days I have six birdies, which isn’t much, although I’m playing consistently,” admitted the Vanguard pro. But the 2013 national champion achieved a historic feat today. After all, by passing the cut for the sixth time at the Portuguese Open, he equaled the national record of Daniel Silva and Filipe Lima.
Miguel Gaspar also found himself at one point with an aggregate of 5 strokes under par and starts tomorrow for the last lap with -1. Lost 4 strokes on the last five holes.
«I played really well in the first 13 holes, I played really good golf and went with 3 under par, I even walked with -5 (not aggregated) and honestly I wasn’t even thinking (only) about passing the cut and when I saw that with -6 was in 10th place I thought maybe I could finish the day in the top-10. (…) I went to hole 18 in a situation (of distress) that was unnecessary », characterized.
However, the Belas Clube de Campo professional can also celebrate the first time he passes the cut in Portuguese tournaments of the European Tour or Challenge Tour. He had played four times at the Portugal Masters and several times at the Portugal Open and always missed the cut. On the ninth it was time.
«It’s our Open. If I could pick a Challenge Tour tournament to win it would be the Portuguese Open. It has our audience, in our fields, with everything that is good in Portugal. It is obvious that (passing the cut) has a special flavor. Unfortunately I’m no longer in a position to fight for the top places, but passing the cut, a good lap on Saturday will put me in a good position”, he reiterated.
The Portuguese Golf Federation competition continues tomorrow (Saturday), the 25th, at 8:10 am, and ends on Sunday, the 26th. Of the 132 players, 64 beat the par on 36 holes and were those who passed the cut.