Global golf Legends enjoy record-breaking week at Costa Navarino

By Emily Kay 2 weeks ago

Costa Navarino hosted a week of record-breaking action as the Legends Tour made a memorable return to Greece, as the first major professional golf tournament to take place in the country after 23 years.

The inaugural Costa Navarino Legends Tour Trophy line-up included Major champions Paul Lawrie and Michael Campbell and featured 60 players from 19 countries. A number of low-scoring performances including the course record being broken on both tournament courses – The Bay Course and the International Olympic Academy Golf Course – were among the tournament’s highlights.

America’s Clark Dennis started the final day of the 54-hole tournament one stroke behind the leader, Sweden’s Mickael Lundberg, but an impressive back nine which included six birdies helped him to a third successive 66 and a final score of 17-under-par to win the title by four shots from Australian Scott Hend. Lundberg eventually finished third alongside James Kingston from South Africa, England’s Greg Owen and Adilson da Silva from Brazil.

Dennis, who registered only one dropped shot all week and was a mark of consistency at Costa Navarino, said: “It feels great, we have had a great time this week. It’s probably the best venue the Legends Tour’s been to since I’ve been on the Tour, and that’s eight years now. It’s been amazing having my wife Vickie here and my youngest son Philip on the bag. It’s a third victory for him as a caddie, so we’ve just had a great time. It’s indescribable, you know, at our age we don’t know how many of these we’re going to have left and to have them with me, it’s been amazing.”

Michael Campbell, who won the US Open in 2005, said: “It’s just great here. The destination and the facilities are fantastic, and you look around and you just can’t beat the beautiful views.”

Peter Baker, the 2023 MCB Road to Mauritius winner, added: “What a stunning place. This is the first time I’ve been to Greece so it’s nice to come here. The people are really nice and the courses are in great condition.”

Located in Messinia in Greece’s southwest Peloponnese, Costa Navarino is a sustainably driven destination and has joined the European Tour Destinations network. It offers a world-class golf experience on its four 18-hole signature golf courses, with breathtaking views of the Ionian Sea, the historic Bay of Navarino and the lush Messinian nature with centuries-old olive groves.

The Costa Navarino Legends Tour Trophy was played over two of the destination’s courses – The Bay Course for round one on Friday June 7 and then the International Olympic Academy Golf Course for rounds two and three on Saturday June 8 and Sunday June 9. Players and guests chose from the destination’s five-star resorts for their stay: The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort – where most of the professionals stayed – W Costa Navarino, Mandarin Oriental, Costa Navarino and The Westin Resort Costa Navarino.

Helping to set the scene for the tournament – which will be played at the destination until 2026 – was the Costa Navarino Legends Tour Pro-Am on The Bay Course, where the field included Hollywood star Bill Murray

Murray, whose hit films include Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day and Lost in Translation, said: “I have never been to any place like this and it’s the most gracious place I’ve ever been. The owners take crazy good care of Costa Navarino and the people of the region are so proud of it. It’s really a delight to be here.”

The Bay Course, a par-71 seaside course, measures 5,614m in length and was designed by legendary golf architect Robert Trent Jones Jr.

Englishman Liam Bond was the previous course record holder after shooting a nine-under 62 at the Aegean Messinia Pro-Am last September, but his mark was in danger from the outset as it was beaten first by Lundberg (61) before Hend and England’s Robert Coles took advantage of perfect scoring conditions to go one shot better with rounds of 60.

The final 36 holes saw the tournament move to the International Olympic Academy Golf Course. Situated at Navarino Hills, the José Marίa Olazábal-designed layout offers panoramic views and measures 6,366m in length.

With weather conditions ideal for low scoring, the players took full advantage with Sweden’s Joakim Haegmann, Jyoti Randhawa from India and Dennis all equalling the course record on the second day with six-under-par rounds of 66, and Dennis matched the score in the final round after holing a putt of more than 20 feet for a birdie three on the final hole to seal victory in style.

David Ashington, general manager at Costa Navarino Golf, said: “It was a real pleasure and privilege for Costa Navarino to host the Legends Tour and a world-class line-up of players. It was a memorable week for everyone involved. As well as featuring two of our four signature golf courses, the event provided the opportunity for professionals, amateurs and their families to experience our extended offering of sports and lifestyle facilities and Messinian hospitality. Costa Navarino has so much to offer to golfers, and we’re looking forward to developing our relationship with the Legends Tour over the next two years.”

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