CATALAN MATCHPLAY CHAMPIONSHIPS
Fernando Cano - Matchplay Champion of Catalonia 2009
The finals of the Catalan Matchplay Championship were played last weekend on the ‘Handicap 1’ course overlooking the Maresme coast, just north of Barcelona. Among the participants were last year’s champion, Jordi Salvŕ and the 63 best qualifiers from the qualifying tournament played earlier in the month. A total of 393 players had originally aspired to play in this most prestigious championship final.
The National Matchplay Championship is played to FIIPA rules, and since Matchplay competitions are not organised very often, there had been a tremendous expectation leading up to the event, and of course some surprising results. In fact a number of the favourites like previous champion, Jordi Salvŕ, current Strokeplay champion Marc Lloret, and best local player, Jordi Serra, were knocked out in the early rounds.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was the magnificent achievement of both Jacint Corrales (Franciac) and Lluis Grifé (Santa Coloma de Cervelló) in reaching the semi finals. They were joined by Xavier López (P&P Can Rafel) and Fernando Cano (P&P Gualta). Fernando had been in the final last year, losing only on the very last hole. This time, Grifé reached the final with the narrowest of margins – 1 up, while Corrales missed a great chance to tie his match with a short putt on the 17th, but missed.
The other semi final was equally exciting with Xavier Lopez, who initially took the lead, tied with Fernando Cano on the 17th. Cano, however, pitched the 18th to within 10 centimetres, obliging Xavier to go for the birdie, but he could not make it.
The final itself was tied on the 3rd. But then Fernando played very confidently indeed and was able to clinch the match on the 15th. (4&3). Lluis Grifé was a wonderful competitor, but on the day Fernando was superior.
Fernando has had a fantastic year, having won his 2nd. National championship. He had earlier won the Pairs championship together with Josep Santos (Gualta). FIPPA players will remember Fernando winning the World Championships in La Grande Motte last April. He could yet win another major trophy. He is a clear favourite with three events left to play in the 2009 Ranking Challenge.