Fade instead of draw, excellent putts and new self-confidence: Mateusz Gradecki booked the opening victory in the manner of a champion.
Mateusz Gradecki triumphs at season opener in Egypt
Red Sea Egyptian Classic 2021
Successful start to the Pro Golf Tour 2021 season: at the first Order of Merit tournament of the year in Ain Sokhna in Egypt, Mateusz Gradecki from Poland was victorious and took the trophy and winner’s cheque for the Red Sea Egyptian Classic with a total of 12 under par (66, 70, 68). After 54 holes, the 26-year-old from Oborniki Śląskie was two shots ahead of tour rookie Mike Toorop from the Netherlands (65, 70, 71/-10).
Ain Sokhna/Egypt – Mateusz Gradecki secured the title for the Red Sea Egyptian Classic with a perfect final spurt: on holes 16, 17 and 18 of his final round at the Sokhna Golf Club on the Red Sea in Egypt, the Pole made a birdie on each hole, thus overtaking all his opponents and securing the winner’s prize of 5,000 euros as well as just as many points for the Pro Golf Tour Order of Merit.
Gradecki had already proven his playing class in the first round when he climbed to position 2 on the leaderboard with a round of 66, just one stroke behind Dutch newcomer Mike Toorop. After a solid 70 strokes in the second round, the professional won on the final day thanks to playing class and excellent putts from the distance as well. “This is really a quite outstanding start to the new season and I’m thrilled with this win,” said Gradecki. “Over the last few months I’ve been preparing very meticulously, including changing my putting style and ball flight. I’m now playing fades and not draws, which gives me a lot more stability and corresponding confidence.”
The Pole had already qualified for the 2019 European Challenge Tour in 2018 with a 5th place finish in the final rankings, but was unable to gain a foothold there. In 2020 he missed out on direct promotion as number 7 in the Order of Merit – only the top 3 were promoted to Europe's 2nd league last year. With this victory in Ain Sokhna he has now laid the foundation for his season goal, his return to the European Challenge Tour.
Brilliant start for Mike Toorop
Mike Toorop, who ended up second, also caused a sensation in Egypt. Ranked no. 4 in the 2020 Pro Golf Tour Qualifying School, the tour rookie travelled to the Red Sea with the best of recommendations and left his first small mark on the tournament with a round of 65 on the first day. The strongest German players this time were two amateurs: Jannik de Bruyn and Timo Vahlenkamp shared 3rd place with 9 under par each.
Without a change of location, the members of the Pro Golf Tour will continue on Sunday with tournament number 2 on the annual calendar, when round 1 of the Red Sea Ain Sokhna Classic is on the agenda – traditionally also on the 27-hole course at the Sokhna Golf Club, but with a different course combination.