McGee hurt by albatross but stronger than ever for Challenge Tour charge
 Nacho Elvira with the Challenge de Madrid trophy. Picture courtesy ©Golf File

Nacho Elvira with the Challenge de Madrid trophy. Picture courtesy ©Golf File

It wouldn’t be fair to say that it took an albatross to stop Ruaidhri McGee winning the Open de Madrid, but there’s no doubt that Nacho Elvira’s spectacular two at El Encín Golf Hotel’s par five fourth hole was a blow the Derry man could have done without.

Tied for the lead with the 28-year old Madrid native with a round to go, McGee made an eagle three at the first to go a shot clear. But after a bogey at the second, his birdie at the fourth was enough only to keep him within two shots of Elvira, who would go on to win by four shots.

A sickening albatross?

"It was a bit," McGee confessed. "But I had a long way to go after that so I didn't get to excited. I wasn't too happy with today to be honest but it was a good week overall and I felt like I played solid."

Ruaidhri McGee at Rosapenna

The touring professional for Rosapenna Hotel and Golf Resort, 24-year old McGee turned for home three behind Elvira as he went out in 33 to the Spaniard’s sensational 30. 

A double bogey at the par three 16th could have cost the Derry man dear but a birdie at the last gave him the finish his play deserved.

The Spaniard had his troubles in a back nine of 37, but McGee mixed three birdies with three bogeys and a double bogey as he posted a 71 to his rival’s 67.

Still, a share of second with Portugal’s Ricardo Gouveia on 17 under earned McGee a career best Challenge Tour finish and the biggest cheque of his professional career — €14,400 — which moved him up to sixth in the Road to Oman Rankings, securing his card for the remainder of the season.

"I can't wait to get back out there now," said McGee after a confidence boosting week secured his playing privileges for the rest of the season. "The Irish Open? I'm planning on focusing on the Challenge Tour but I'll be more than happy to take a week off for that!"

As for Elvira's albatross, the Madrileño was 202 metres from the pin at the fourth and holed out with a five-iron for a two before another two at the par-three fifth put him three clear and he never looked back 

“That albatross was unbelievable,” Elvira said. "It is the first of my career, the first I have ever made, and it is amazing that it happened today.

"You could say there was a little bit of luck in there, but there were still plenty of holes to play, and I tried to stick to my game plan and focus on my game.

“It is funny, as I had 202 metres to the flag and it was blowing a little downwind, and I said to my caddy that it was a five iron, and the previous two holes I had not had the same distance, but I had used the same club and hit pretty good shots.

"I thought it was the club again, and when it came out it looked pretty good, but I never expected what happened.

Simon Thornton had two double bogeys and four birdies in a level par 72 to finish tied 32nd on eight under (€1,184) with Peter Lawrie (72) a shot further back in tied 37th (€ 1,040).

Gareth Maybin (73) was tied 59th on three under, earning €496. 

Challenge de Madrid

Final scores:

267 N Elvira  (Esp) 66 68 66 67,

271 R Gouveia (Por) 66 68 68 69, Ruaidhri McGee (Irl) 65 67 68 71,

272 C Hanson (Eng) 68 70 69 65,

273 S Walker (Eng) 70 68 70 65, S Manley (Wal) 70 68 69 66,

275 P Maddy (Eng) 68 71 67 69, P Oriol (Esp) 69 69 67 70,

276 A Garcia-Heredia (Esp) 64 73 68 71, S Soderberg (Swe) 67 66 70 73, B Virto Astudillo (Esp) 71 65 71 69, R Kellett (Sco) 67 70 71 68,

277 A Tadini (Ita) 70 68 66 73, J Walters (RSA) 72 70 66 69, B Evans  (Eng) 73 67 68 69, N Ravano (Ita) 66 75 69 67, E Saltman  (Sco) 70 66 72 69, B Stone (RSA) 69 67 70 71, A Saddier (Fra) 70 69 71 67,

278 A McArthur  (Sco) 67 72 68 71, J Lara (Esp) 68 73 68 69, S Gros (Fra) 65 70 69 74, V Riu  (Fra) 71 70 67 70, M Trappel  (Aut) 68 69 72 69, J McLeary  (Sco) 70 71 70 67, P Martin Benavides (Esp) 69 71 69 69,

279 J Sarasti  (Esp) 66 66 74 73, D Foos (Ger) 67 68 71 73, J Senior (Eng) 70 69 71 69, F Calmels  (Fra) 71 70 65 73, J Dantorp (Swe) 71 71 70 67,

280 Simon Thornton (Irl) 74 67 67 72, C Berardo (Fra) 70 70 68 72, M Lafeber (Ned) 73 68 69 70, S Fallon (Eng) 69 69 72 70, M Wiegele  (Aut) 74 68 69 69,

281 C Gloet  (Den) 70 68 71 72, Peter Lawrie (Irl) 68 70 71 72, A Hortal  (Esp) 73 69 67 72, T Sluiter  (Ned) 71 71 69 70,

282 C Aguilar  (Esp) 69 72 68 73, D Gaunt (Eng) 70 69 74 69, J Lima  (Por) 73 67 67 75, G Porteous (Eng) 69 72 70 71, C Paisley  (Eng) 70 71 67 74, J Garcia Del Moral (Esp) 70 70 72 70, L Nemecz (Aut) 73 67 70 72, B Stow (Eng) 71 71 68 72,

283 E Cuartero Blanco  (Esp) 67 75 69 72, M Jonzon (Swe) 65 73 72 73, G Murray  (Sco) 70 67 75 71, P Figueiredo  (Por) 69 67 73 74, S Tiley (Eng) 69 70 74 70, M Delpodio  (Ita) 70 72 69 72,

284 R Kakko  (Fin) 68 72 72 72, E Larrañaga (Esp) 75 67 71 71, P Whiteford (Sco) 71 70 66 77, J Stalter (Fra) 73 69 70 72,

285 J Huldahl (Den) 75 67 73 70, J Gonnet  (Fra) 72 69 68 76, Gareth Maybin (Nir) 71 71 70 73,

286 J Fahrbring (Swe) 68 70 74 74, W Booth  (Sco) 73 69 71 73,

287 J Gallegos  (Esp) 71 71 71 74, A Gee  (Eng) 69 73 71 74,

289 N Kimsey (Eng) 70 72 76 71, P Archer (Eng) 72 70 71 76,

290 L Gagli  (Ita) 71 71 72 76,

291 H Satama (Fin) 70 72 75 74,

292 W Harrold (Eng) 68 74 76 74,

** J Glennemo (Swe) 67 69 73 DQ,