Beef, encantado de volver a Valderrama

Andrew Johnston. ©RCValderrama

Andrew Johnston. ©RCValderrama

Andrew Johnston, Beef para los amigos, vuelve al escenario de su primera victoria del Circuito Europeo con ocasión del Andalucía Valderrama Masters-Fundación Sergio García donde se enfrentará a una participación de primer nivel encabezada por el anfitrión del torneo Sergio García y el número 5 del mundo John Rahm.

El año pasado, bajo condiciones durísimas de viento en el Real Club Valderrama, Johnston se adjudicó el Open de España por un golpe sobre el holandés Joost Luiten con un resultado de +1. García terminó tercero con +3.

Las declaraciones del inglés contando sus planes de celebración tras la victoria se convirtieron en un vídeo viral que dio la vuelta al mundo, y desde entonces es uno de los jugadores más populares del golf por su simpatía y su sentido del humor.

Esta temporada Johnston ha combinado el Circuito Europeo con el de la PGA. Tras superar una lesión en el hombro, ha vuelto a la competición en el Open de Italia.

Oficialmente no defiende título en Valderrama por tratarse de un torneo distinto, pero vuelve con recuerdos imborrables a la histórica sede de la Ryder de 1997.

No veo el momento de llegar a Valderrama”, afirma. “Ganar ahí mi primer título fue un salto enorme en mi carrera, y la victoria fue aún más especial por ser en uno de los campos más famosos de Europa.

Es un campo muy duro, pero a los jugadores nos encanta. Allí no se trata solo de hacer birdies como en la mayoría de los campos sino de pensar bien durante toda la vuelta. Además tiene una historia increíble, y me parece genial que el Tour vuelva.

He estado lesionado últimamente, pero tengo la ilusión de que el campo de mi primera victoria me dará el impulso que necesito y podré volver a pelear por el título


 Great memories for Beef at Valderrama

Andrew Johnston will make his return to the scene of his maiden European Tour victory next week when the fan favourite known as ‘Beef’ joins Sergio García, Jon Rahm and a host of stars at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio García Foundation.

Johnston made his breakthrough last year at the famous Real Club Valderrama when he finished one stroke clear of five-time European Tour winner Joost Luiten of the Netherlands, on a one over par total, to take the Open de España title, while home hero García finished in third place on three over.

The Englishman’s winning interview became a viral video around the world as he discussed his victory party plans, and he has since become one of the most popular figures in the game thanks to his friendly demeanour and sense of humour.

Johnston divided his 2017 season between the European Tour and the US PGA Tour and has struggled with a shoulder injury lately, making his return to action at this week’s Italian Open.

While his return to Valderrama will not quite count as a title defence, as the 1997 Ryder Cup venue is hosting a different tournament this time around, the 28 year old is looking forward to going back.

“I can’t wait to go back to Valderrama,” said Johnston. “My win there last year was such a huge moment in my career and to do it on one of the most famous courses in Europe just made it even more special.

“It is such a tough course but players still love playing it. It is not all about birdies like most other courses and you really have to think your way around. It has such an incredible history and I think it is great that the European Tour is going back there.

“I have been struggling with an injury lately but hopefully a return to the course where I claimed my first European Tour victory can give me a boost and I can challenge for the title again.”

Johnston is not the only ‘de facto defending champion’ this week as the tournament host and current Masters Champion García heads the field having won this tournament the last time it was played back in 2011.

He plays on home soil for the first time since his famous triumph at Augusta National in April, when he overcame Englishman Justin Rose in a play-off.

Rahm, meanwhile, will make his first appearance in Spain since turning professional after a meteoric rise to the top of the game. The 22 year old joined the paid ranks in 2016 and claimed his maiden professional title on the US PGA Tour in January.

He then emulated his hero Seve Ballesteros in July when he stormed to a dominant victory and his first European Tour win at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation.

Three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington is also in the field, playing on Spanish soil for the first time in nine years

 

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