Carlos Rodiles has become the fourth different champion on this season’s Gecko Tour. The Málaga golfer completed a convincing win on Thursday at the Marbella Club Golf Resort course, after carding 199 over the three rounds.
It was a sensational performance by Rodiles, who set up victory with two imperious rounds of 64 on Tuesday and Wednesday. So impressive was his game that he began the third round with an 11-stroke lead over his nearest rival. A walk in the clouds… and a dream situation for any pro, but in reality managing such a huge advantage is not necessarily easy.
“It was a difficult day,” said Rodiles, “because everyone expects you to be the winner and you have nothing to win and everything to lose. I was cautious, making sure I played solidly enough – but not spectacular golf. It’s been a while since I’ve had any expectations because there have been so many times when I’ve been playing well and not made the cut, and vice versa. So I live in the present and tackle each round as well as I can to achieve the best result possible.”
Rodiles sealed victory with a final round of 71. Not even the wonderful craziness of Norway’s Eirik Tage Johansen, who carded a superb 61 on the last day (the best score of the tournament), could upset the winner’s triumphant march to the title. In the end, the margin was six shots between the Andalucian and his Nordic rival. However, Johansen’s round still deserves a special mention, as he carded no fewer than nine birdies and an eagle. Extraordinary.
In third place, on nine-under and two shots adrift of Johansen, was Mark Tullo, a Chilean with European Tour pedigree. Also worthy of high praise was Spanish women’s pro Noemí Jiménez, who closed with an excellent 66, including an eagle on the 18th to finish on seven-under in joint fourth position with Rod Bastard and Dominik Pietzsch. An outstanding effort by the young golfer, who learnt to play the game at Guadalmina and chose The Gecko Tour to prepare for her appearance in the grand finale of the US LPGA Tour Qualifying School.
Interestingly, Rodiles is Noemí’s manager. “We’re helping and advising her with sponsors, and we have great hopes in her,” he said. “She’s very hard-working and has a very consistent game. She hits a lot of fairways and greens. She’s going to compete in the finals of both the European and US Qualifying Schools, although her clear objective is to play on the other side of the Atlantic. For the time being, she has her card for the Symetra Tour. We believe she has a brilliant future ahead of her, but you have to take it step by step.”
It was an extraordinary week of golf at Marbella Club Golf Resort. Proof of that was in Rodiles’ two rounds of 64 and Eirik Tage Johansen’s 61. The tournament also had the first hole-in-one of the season, by Belgian Lars Buijs on the fourth hole during the first round. A total of 26 players made the cut of two-over after the second round.
Rodiles became the fourth different winner on the 2015/16 Gecko Tour, following Marcus Kinhult, Alfonso Gutiérrez and Marcos Pastor. His victory was achieved in a similar fashion to Pastor’s win, dominating the tournament from start to finish and with barely any opposition. Not that the rest of the field played badly; it was simply down to his own merits, producing glittering golf of the highest quality.
The next leg of The Gecko Tour will be at Atalaya Golf CC and Río Real GC from 24 to 26 November.