Smyth defends against new kid Nick

Madeira Island Open preview

Bob Warters's picture
Wed, 20 Mar 2002

At this time next year Des Smyth will be looking forward to mopping up on the European Seniors Tour but this week, as his 50th birthday approaches, he’s concentrating on trying to defend the Madeira Island Open.

Des Smyth - defending champion.


The Irishman, from Drogheda became the oldest player – at 48 years and 34 days – to win a main European Tour event here last March, breaking a record that had stood for nearly ten years.

His 12 under par total over the undulating and spectacular Santo da Serra course, equalled the 72-hole record set by Santiago Luna in 1995 and Niclas Fasth in 2000.

Also in the field is another veteran Mats Lanner, twice a winner on the Island, Volvo PGA champion Andrew Oldcorn, Seve Ballesteros and the big-hitting American Hank Kuehne.

However, one of the favourites will be Nick Dougherty, the 19-year-old Lancastrian who finished tied second in Qatar last week and is destined to win a tournament sometime very soon.

His mentor, Nick Faldo, will be keeping a close eye on his progress, while competing in the Players Championship in Florida and will have a word of encouragement for his protégé before the youngster tackles the tricky, terraced course, high in the mountains.

 

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