Naas ace Yates just three back at Alps Tour Grand Final

Jonathan Yates - Picture by Pat Cashman

Jonathan Yates fired a two-under par 70 and sits just three shots off the lead after day one of the Alps Tour Grand Final in Italy.

The Naas professional posted five birdies with three dropped shots on the card and sits in a share of seventh spot heading into round two.

Castleknock’s David Carey returned a hard-fought one-over par 73 to keep his tournament hopes very much alive.


Carey signed for three birdies and four bogeys in an effort that puts him back in 23rd spot overnight.

With the top-5 on the table earning a full Challenge Tour category for the 2020 season, both Carey and Yates know that a big week is required to bridge the gap on those occupying the prized positions.

As Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez from Spain, currently fourth, will not be playing the final as he is currently ranked 12th on the Challenge Tour, this moves Timon Baltl from Austria up into fourth position and Xavier Poncelet from France into fifth.

Given that in the OOM, the number 5 position is currently held by Poncelet, 16,898 points is Carey’s (13,025) and Yates’ (11,821) current target to ensure they give themselves a chance of Challenge Tour graduation.

On a balmy autumn day with blue skies, no wind and summer-like temperatures, the Italian player, Edoardo Lipparelli came into the clubhouse at -5 (67) to take the lead at the Golf Nazionale.

With six birdies and just one bogey on his scorecard, Edoardo Lipparelli played a steady round.

“I’m happy with my game,” he said. “I hit a couple of bad shots, but I was able to recover well. Everything else was fairly solid. My putting worked pretty well, even if some putts didn’t drop. Overall, I’m pleased with my score and I feel comfortable for tomorrow.”

The dense rough along the fairways claimed a number of victims today as any wayward tee-shots were immediately punished. As Lipparelli stated:

“I think the most important part on this golf course are the tee shots. To hit the most fairways possible. I was lucky enough to hit a lot of good shots off the tee and not look for any balls. That definitely helps on this golf course, so that was the best part of my game today.”

The course hosted the Nazionale Open in July of this year, but the course conditions are not exactly the same. Differences that Lipparelli appreciates:

“It’s playing a little differently because it’s less dry and so it is playing longer aswell because the ball doesn’t bounce as much. I like it. It’s in very good shape for this final.”

Indeed, despite the near-perfect playing conditions, the challenging Jim Fazio designed course saw plenty of birdies, pars, bogeys and double-bogeys but just a single eagle among the 40 players out there today, that of the Portuguese rookie, Vitor Londot Lopes on the par 5 hole 18.

The rookies were out in force today with six of them in the top ten on the leaderboard after the first round. In second position is the rookie, Martin Contini from Argentina, who carded a bogey-free -4 (68). Whilst in the four players tied for third position on the leaderboard at -3 (69) are two more rookies, Angel Hidalgo Portillo from Spain and Edgar Catherine from France alongside the experienced players Davey Porsius from the Netherlands and Xavier Poncelet from France.

Rounding out the top ten at -2 (70) are three more rookies; lone-eagle scorer, Vitor Londot Lopes, and Mathias Eggenberger from Switzerland along with Yates who’s accompanied by the experienced French player Teremoana Beaucousin.

Of the top 5 players on the Order of Merit, just two of them are in the top ten after the 18 holes of Day 1. Edoardo Lipparelli (1st) and Xavier Poncelet (5th). The other three top 5 players are Frédéric Lacroix (3rd), Enrico Di Nitto (2nd) and Timon Baltl (4th) who came in at -1 (71), Par (72) and +1 (72) respectively.

However, we have another three rounds to go and anything can happen in the game of golf. As Edoardo Lipparelli says, for a tournament of this number of rounds: “Whoever is the most consistent over the four days is going to top the leader board.”

So, consistency is the key. Let’s see what Day 2 produces on the Golf Nazionale course. The first tee-off is at 8:19 and the last flight starts at 11:20.

Rounds 3 and 4 will take place at the Terre dei Consoli Golf Club.

Full scoring HERE

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