The participants, parents and coaches of the 12th Amendoeira World Kids Golf, photo by Carlos Alves de Sousa-United Photo Press.
The participants, parents and coaches of the 12th Amendoeira World Kids Golf. Photo: Carlos Alves de Sousa / United Photo Press

João Crasi Alves wins Amendoeira Word Kids Golf tournament

João Crasi Alves was crowned on Friday (July 28) the champion of the 12th edition of Amendoeira World Kids Golf, an international youth tournament held at Amendoeira Golf Resort in Silves that returned to the golf calendar after a four-year absence due to the pandemic.

The player from Vilamoura Golf Club took full advantage of the new regulation of the tournament, which, in 2023, combined the under-16s with the under-18s, becoming the first champion of this prestigious tournament to come from the under-16 category.

Son of a Portuguese father and a Romanian mother, he led from the first round and triumphed with 214 strokes, 2 under Par on the O’Connor Jr. Course, after rounds of 70, 73, and 71.

He surpassed his clubmate, João Maria Ivo de Carvalho, who secured 2nd place, despite having the same result as Swedish player Axel Elmlund, as the tiebreaker (best last round) determined the 2nd and 3rd place finishers. Both totalled 230 strokes, 14 over Par, with the Portuguese player scoring rounds of 78, 75, and 77, and the Scandinavian player with rounds of 77, 72, and 81.

“I hope to follow in the footsteps of players who have already won this tournament and reach the highest level. With hard work and a lot of training, I will get there. The objective has been achieved, and I hope it gives me more confidence to win more tournaments,” said the champion João Crasi Alves.

The Algarvian is ranked 6th in the under-16 ranking of the Drive Tour, the youth circuit of the Portuguese Golf Federation (FPG), while João Maria Ivo de Carvalho is ranked 9th.

“With a victory in the Drive Tour, I can position myself in 2nd or 3rd place, as the 1st place is my goal. With the game I have, I believe I can achieve a victory,” added the youngster, who clinched his second title in the competition after winning in the under-12 category in 2019, the last time this tournament counted towards the amateur world ranking.

João Crasi Alves, the champion, received the cup from Custódio Moreno, from IPDJ Algarve, photo by Carlos Alves de Sousa
João Crasi Alves, the champion, received the cup from Custódio Moreno, from IPDJ Algarve, photo by Carlos Alves de Sousa
Photo: Carlos Alves de Sousa / United Photo Press

In the under-14 category, another Portuguese golfer triumphed, who also has one foreign parent: Matteo Balzer, who has an Italian father, aggregated 232 strokes, 16 over Par, with scores of 76, 77, and 79.

He outperformed by nine shots English player Ethan Southerland , who scored 241 (85+82+74), +25, and had the best round of the tournament (+2). Matteo Balzer is from Amendoeira Golf Club and ranks 12th in the under-14 ranking of the Drive Tour of the FPG.

In the under-12 category, Rodrigo Sousa Correia also led from the first day and managed to maintain a distance from his main rival, Ethan Prybys Orton. Correia, from Vilamoura Golf Club, scored 96 stableford gross points with rounds of 29, 33, and 34.

He is ranked 2nd in the under-12 ranking of the FPG’s Drive Tour and won with a nine-point advantage over Ethan Prybys Orton.

Also in the under-12 category, the only female player in this 12th Amendoeira World Kids Golf, Catarina Sousa Conceição, scored 21 points, with scores of 6, 9, and 6. The player from Vilamoura Golf Club received the champion trophy for the tournament, the first time it has been awarded to an under-12 player.

In the under-10 category, Miguel Coelho Porfírio was a consistent leader. The Portuguese player from Quinta das Lágrimas Golf Club scored 63 stableford gross points after rounds of 21 and 20. He is 10 years old and is the current national champion in the under-10 category in the “pitch & putt” speciality.

The 2nd place finisher was Ricardo Castro Ferreira, with 52 points (20+18+14). The Portuguese player from Estoril Golf Club is only eight years old and is already the current national runner-up in the under-10 category. He is the son of Stéphane Castro Ferreira, a former national amateur champion, who became a professional for a few years.

In addition to the gross ranking, there were also prizes for the net ranking, with the following champions: Ricardo Castro Ferreira (Portugal) in the under-10 category, Santiago Lázaro (Portugal) in the under-12 category, Paul Devillers (Belgium) in the under-14 category, and Nicolas Rebossio Insua (Spain) in the under-16/18 category.

The Amendoeira World Kids Golf was the first Portuguese international youth tournament to count towards the amateur world ranking, and it held that status until 2017. It is sanctioned by the FPG and recognised by the R&A.

In 2023, it featured 25 athletes representing eight nations: Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, United Kingdom, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates (although of Irish origin).

During the awards ceremony, attended by Custódio Moreno from IPDJ Algarve, the tournament director Nelson Cavalheiro expressed a desire to “add a sub-24 tournament next year, as has been happening in the Drive Circuit of the Portuguese Golf Federation (FPG).”

On the other hand, Tiago Francisco, the golf director of Amendoeira Golf Resort, announced that the 13th edition will take place between July 23 and 27, 2024.