Costa Esuri saw the start of the three event Spanish Swing and although looking parched by the long and sustained drought over the past 5 months the course was in excellent playing order. With tight, fast running fairways and true, well prepared greens the first day was very much a “make hay while the sun shines” scoring day.
Paul Doherty took full advantage of an early start and with a very light breeze to defend it Costa Esuri yielded up a 3 under par 69 to Doherty, which led for the rest of the day. Hot on Doherty’s heels came Lee James, Matt Swales and Steve Surry on 2 under par, followed by David James, Andrew Cooley and eventual winner Elliot Saltman on 1 under par.
On day 2 the fireworks really started with Neil Riley bursting through the field with a 6 under par 66 to lead in the house until Elliot Saltman gate crashed the party carding a brilliant 8 under par 64 to equal the course record and assume a 6 shot lead which was never troubled.
David James joined Riley at 3 under par and first round leader Doherty made up the trio tied for second place each winning £767. However it was the imperious Saltman who took away the first prize of £2,000.
A wonderful Jose Maria Olazabal designed golf course which is long with tree lined fairways and wonderful greens that place the onus on long iron play and short game skills, both of which Olazabal was a master of.
Fresh from his victory at Costa Esuri, Elliot Saltman plucked a first round 3 under par 69 from the European Tour standard course to eventually lead by just one. Behind him sat a frustrated Lee James who let slip a golden opportunity to assume a strong lead by playing the last four holes in 4 over par after getting it to 6 under after 14 holes. He was joined on 2 under by Neil Riley who had previously finished strongly at Costa Esuri.
Saltman started the second day as hot favourite to make it 2 in a row. As the day wore on it was looking like no one wanted to win until Saltman birdied 4 holes out of 5, starting at the eleventh, to assume the outright lead. He maintained this to run out the winner by 2 shots from Steve Surry and Neil Riley, who each won £850, so it was two in a row for Saltman and another cheque for £2,000 to tuck away in his sporran!
Hot scoring by the early starters with Scott Drummond carding an excellent 6 under par 66 to take the clubhouse lead by one from David James and two from Neil Chaudhuri. Hot, soon became scorching, as word from the course had Neil O’Briain at 8 under par playing the Seventeenth.
He duly birdied the par 5 to reach a staggering 9 under par with one to play. O’Briain just missed a 6 foot birdie putt on the last but tapped in for par to establish a new course record for Costa Esuri of 63 blows and sit on a 3 shot lead.
Day 2 was an early doors washout with a half an hour delay that was soon followed by a suspension of play due to flooded fairways and greens. After a lengthy wait it was apparent that the rain was here to stay and we had no alternative but to abandon play for the day.
As we had completed 18 holes on the first day a result could be declared and it was the delighted Neil O’Briain who took the spoils and won a cheque for £2,000 for his spectacular first round course record of 63 blows. Scott Drummond, who is finding the sort of form which won him the B.M.W PGA Championship finished second on 6 under par winning £1,000.
The welcome we received at Costa Esuri and La Monacilla was exceptional, with helpful, friendly and courteous staff making us and the players feel really at home. Beautiful and very well prepared golf courses completed the golfing package.
The Eurotel in Altura, that was our base for the Spanish swing, provided well appointed and comfortable rooms, good facilities and superb service for the length of our stay and we would hope to return there next year.