One of a kind
By Edwin Smith, Editor - Q2 2023
‘THERE IS NO other golf tournament like this in the world,’ says Jean-Noël Bioul as he sits on the sun-drenched terrace of the clubhouse at Quinta do Lago. And he should know.
Bioul is a veteran of the professional golf circuit. Having started his career at IMG in 1979, he later enjoyed a long and successful tenure at Rolex, where he served as global sponsorship director. But, as Bioul says, the One Green Way Invitational – the event he is hosting – is truly unique. The tournament is a ‘pro-am’, which sees 60 professionals each team up with an amateur player to compete over three rounds over three days.
It doesn’t hurt that the tournament is taking place during three uninterrupted days of sun, with temperatures in the high teens – despite the fact it is February. (Quinta do Lago enjoys 300 days of sunshine per year.) But the composition of the field is what makes this event truly special; it is stacked with Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup legends, who go head-to-head – men and women playing in the same competition (albeit off different tees).
The tournament takes place at Quinta do Lago – the luxury gated community on Portugal’s Algarve which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022, and which is known for its three stunning golf courses. For the One Green Way Invitational, the pairs take on Quinta’s North Course, which is as picturesque as it is challenging; it boasts the raised greens, rolling terrain and a keen balance of risk and reward, especially on the 2nd, 12th and 18th holes, which all represent a chance for birdies or even eagles – but only for those who can safely navigate the water hazards.
The pros were in relaxed mood, however, on the eve of the tournament, when they enjoyed drinks and dinner alongside the amateur players and friends of the tournament at the five-star Hotel Quinta do Lago.
After dinner, Sky Sports presenter and One Green Way ambassador Sarah Stirk brought together European Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup legends including Annika Sörenstam, Suzann Pettersen, Colin Montgomerie, Bernhard Langer and José María Olazábal to look ahead to the forthcoming showdowns between Europe and America. America are favourites with the bookies for the Ryder Cup, which will be played at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome. But, Montgomerie noted, no Europe team has been beaten at home for 30 years.
There was also time for a word from Daniel Schneider, partner at private equity firm SPX Capital, which is itself an investor in the One Green Way luxury residences, which give the tournament its name. Schneider, who is Brazilian, told Spear’s that when he first came to the Algarve, he was struck by the way local people and businesses had embraced British visitors. ‘I tried to speak Portuguese to someone in a shop,’ the Brazilian said, ‘and they spoke back to me in English!’ He also noted that, on some days, there can be more than 20 UK flights to Faro Airport, just a 20-minute drive away.
Several players took the opportunity to take a closer look at the One Green Way development during the weekend. The 89 luxury residences have been designed by architecture studio Plan A, set in mature landscaping by the international firm of landscape artists Cracknell. There is evidence of the firm’s mantra ‘Good design is obvious, great design is transparent’ everywhere you look. What’s more, everything here, from the kitchens, with cabinetry from Molteni&C and appliances from Gaggenau, and the bathrooms with touches from Antonio Lupi and Gessi, speaks to the unwavering commitment to quality made by Paulo Carapuça, the CEO of Green Jacket Partners, the company behind One Green Way.
At the end of 54 holes of golf, it was perhaps fitting, in this corner of Portugal so beloved by the British, that it was an Englishman – Paul Broadhurst – who emerged victorious, with a score of -13 and a cheque for €55,000, from the total purse of €332,500.
‘This tournament has exceeded our wildest dreams to create a “best in class” Pro-Am tournament,’ said Daniel Schneider, who summed up the weekend. ‘For our guests to be able to play alongside their golfing heroes is an unforgettable experience and shines a spotlight on the offer and lifestyle of the One Green Way luxury residential development. The tournament will live in the memory of everyone who took part.’ Web onegreenway.pt
884A5515: Jean-Noël Bioul addresses players and spectators at the One Green Way Invitational
884A5515: Marco Estrella, ATME Foto
Spear's 87 :: 24 (yudu.com)