Look out for a new Portuguese professional golf star on the horizon – the first since Daniel Silva won the European Tour qualifying school in the early 1990s.
Hugo Santos (25), playing in only his second event since turning pro in January, claimed the £1,000 first prize in the Olyo Alliance International pro-am tournament in the Eastern Algarve this week.
With immaculate rounds of 70, 71 and 70 over the ultra fast greens of Quinta de Cima, the tree-lined Benamor and the coast-flanked Quinta de Ria courses, Santos – a late replacement from Vilamoura - beat Gary Hagues (Grassmoor) and Alex Belt (Bridlington) by six shots.
Said Hugo: "This is a big thrill for me. I only knew I was playing the night before but it was a good opportunity to play on courses I know quite well against some very good players from England and Scotland. I am very grateful to Olyo for the chance to have tough competition as a new pro."
Though experienced as an amateur, representing his country at World Cups (Eisenhauer Trophy) as well as Europe against Britain and Ireland and Asia/Pacific, Santos is desperate for professional tournament competition before he accepts invitations for the EuroPro and European Challenge Tour events later this year.
He told Golfmagic: "I have achieved my goals as an amateur and now, with the help of the Portuguese Golf Federation, I want to see how far I can progress as a professional.
The Olyo event attracted 30 teams, each headed by a professional and supported by the Leicestershire-based club makers and the Eastern Algarve Tourism.
The team event was won for the second successive year by Riverside Golf Centre ‘A’ in Nottingham, headed by pro Guy Meek with amateurs Glynn Meek and Dean and Andy Bennett.