Londoner Alfie Fox paid tribute to receord-breaking boys’ winner Max Hopkins after the thrilling 2017 Telegraph Vitality Junior Golf Championship at Portugal’s prestigious Quinta do Lago resort last week.
Hopkins, aged just 14, became the youngest ever winner of the tournament, which has now been running for 33 years, as the Bishop’s Stortford ace clinched a three-shot win over Brampton’s Ben Jones with Fox a further two shots back.
Annabell Fuller from Kingston-upon-Thames blitzed the field by 13 shots over the highly-acclaimed North Course to take the girls’ title in style after scoring 71, 74, 70.
A composed final-round 71 proved enough for Hopkins to seal his place in the record books as he was the only male to finish under par in the 54-hole tournament. Fox posted scores of 70, 73, 76.
And Surrey Under-18 captain Fox, 17, whose home club is Roehampton, admitted: “I made a few mistakes on the last round. I was scoring okay but I got to the 11th and I made a nine. I got some unlucky breaks but I didn’t lose my head. It was one bad shot and the rest just played out like it did.
“I am happy to have done well in my last junior event. I said to myself to keep fighting to the end and I never gave up. For a 14-year-old to win the tournament is really impressive the way he handled himself. He’s got it all, hits it straight and he didn’t make mistakes. His putting was relentless. “I played in this event last year and it is such a great inssight into how life will be if you ever turn profeessional. It gives you a feeling of preparing for later life.”
The 54-hole stroke play Telegraph Vitality Junior Golf Championship, which was hailed by 2014 European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley as one of junior golf’s Majors, took place on Quinta do Lago’s redesigned North Course. Officially opened by McGinley in October 2014, the 6,156m-layout, one of three championship courses at the resort, has quickly risen to become one of the new stars of European golf. The North Course played a key role in Quinta do Lago being named Portugal’s best golf resort in Golf World’s inaugural rankings of the Top 100 Resorts in Continental Europe 2016/17.
A multi-million-pound investment has led to a number of high-profile additions, strengthening the Algarve destination’s reputation as the world’s leading sport and leisure destination – both on land and on water. The Campus, a state-of-the-art sporting facility, is the latest inclusion that aims to provide the perfect training base for both beginners and world-class athletes in all fields.
Phase One has now been completed that includes the Pavilion, which is the social heart of the facility, tennis courts, padel courts and the Bike Shed for cycling enthusiasts, who can make the most of the all-year round temperate climate.
Quinta do Lago, home to 10 highly-acclaimed restaurants and celebrating its 45th anniversary, has long been famed for its culinary delights. The Bovino is one of the best-loved dining experiences in the Algarve, complementing the sophisticated setting of Casa Velha and the hugely popular Shack, one of the coolest spots around, which is situated on the lake’s shoreline.
Located just 15 minutes from Faro airport, the resort is the official winter training base for England Golf’s elite squads and situated in the tranquil and naturally beautiful setting of the Ria Formosa Natural Park, offering a choice of high-quality accommodation options. The recent acquisition of The Magnolia Hotel adds to the already impressive array of luxury villas that are available for rental or purchase.
For more details about the 2017 Telegraph Vitality Junior Golf Championship, call 0344 693 1885 or go to www.telegraph.co.uk/sponsored/sport/juniorgolf/