Friday, November 25, 2016


Nacho Elvira  (Getty Images)
Nacho Elvira (Getty Images)
Nacho Elvira named Graduate of Year by 

European Tour

Nacho Elvira has been named as the Graduate of the Year by the European Tour after a breakthrough 2016 season saw him finish 44th in the Race to Dubai, six places ahead of nearest rival Brandon Stone.
The award follows the announcement of Jeunghun Wang as Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year and Elvira follows Byeong Hun An and Brooks Koepka as recent recipients of the prestigious prize.
The Graduate of the Year is awarded to the best-performing player to have graduated from the European Challenge Tour the previous season and while Stone led the way for much of 2016, it was the Spaniard’s strong finish to the season that sealed his victory.
After tying for third in the Italian Open, back-to-back top tens at the Portugal Masters and the Turkish Airlines Open earned Elvira this award, with those results taking him to 824,367 points for the year.
It also makes it two awards in two seasons for the 29 year old after his albatross on the way to victory in the Challenge de Madrid was voted the Challenge Tour’s Shot of the Year for 2015 by the public, and Elvira was quick to pay tribute to the role the Challenge Tour had played in his rise.

It’s been a great season,” he said. “I struggled a little bit at the start of the year, when I missed six cuts in a row, but after that it’s been a great year, I cannot complain – getting into the Final Series, finishing in the top 60 of the Race to Dubai, and now winning this award. I’m very happy.
“The Challenge Tour definitely prepared me for this year. Something that I always say is how great a stepping stone the Challenge Tour is onto the European Tour because you’re competing with all the guys that, sooner or later, are going to be on the European Tour as well.
“There are great players and a really good level of golf, and it prepares you mentally and physically for what comes next after you graduate.”
There is also remarkable symmetry to be found in Elvira’s nearest miss of the season at the Trophée Hassan II, where he lost in a play-off to Wang – a result that boosted the Korean’s charge towards his Rookie of the Year award.
“Morocco left me with mixed feelings,” he said. “To finish second in a tournament is always good, but I was a little bit disappointed I didn’t get to win, especially given how well I had played.

“It did turn my season around though, and basically guaranteed that I would keep my card so the pressure was off a bit and I was a little more confident going into the end of the season.
“The way Wang finished that event was incredible and he had a brilliant year, so I would also like to congratulate him on his Rookie of the Year award.”

Nacho Elvira makes an albatross on the way to victory in Madrid



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