Catalunya Championship displays Stadium Course’s big tournament credentials
GIRONA, Spain – Catalunya Championship victor Adri Arnaus led DP World Tour professionals’ praise of the world-renowned Stadium Course, with players in awe of the conditions following a recent sustainability-focused €1million upgrade.
Work by PGA Catalunya Golf and Wellness Director of Agronomy David Bataller and his team to enhance the bunkers and drainage, as well as improving the greens and adding fescue grass around the putting surfaces, was given a huge thumbs up last week.
Regularly ranked among the top 20 golf courses of Continental Europe, professionals were among the first to play the newly upgraded Stadium Course modelled on Augusta National and TPC Sawgrass.
Adri Arnaus carded a final-round 65 (seven-under-par) to finish level with South African Oliver Bekker on 11-under through 72 holes, before the local favourite defeated Bekker on the sixth playoff hole to claim an emotional first tour title.
“It’s a dream come true. I’ve been looking for this [win] for a while. To be able to come through here [at PGA Catalunya], where I practise in the summers and where they take care of me so well is special.
“I’ve always looked forward to playing here. I came to watch in 2009 as a kid, now I have a little apartment in Girona, and seeing this course evolve and get as good as it is at this point, it’s so cool to have this so close.
“It’s a very complete golf course. The greens are pure, every time you hit a good putt you know what it’s going to do, whether it’s in or not.”
Winning European 2018 Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjørn, who won the 1999 SarazenWorld Open the same year the Stadium Course opened, paid tribute to the staff’s commitment over the years – especially throughout the Covid pandemic – to keep the layout in such good condition.
“This is an excellent place. It was an excellent place back then and obviously the golf course has grown, the facilities, the properties, it’s just turned into a magnificent place.
“It’s a special place for the Tour [too]. We used to have Q School here, and a lot of guys have good memories coming back here.”
PGA Catalunya Golf and Wellness CEO David Plana said: “It has been a pleasure to host the Catalunya Championship and work with the fantastic DP World Tour team. This event has given us a very positive impact in terms of visibility around the world, both in terms of the tournament and the region. We have the whole European Tour Productions team broadcasting to many stations around the world.”
Catalunya Championship Tournament Director, Miguel Vidaor, said: “PGA Catalunya Golf and Wellness proved to be an excellent host venue for the inaugural Catalunya Championship, and the feedback from the players has been overwhelmingly positive. The Stadium Course was in pristine condition, and the facilities across the resort are first class. Our thanks go to everyone associated with the club for a fantastic week.”
PGA Catalunya Golf and Wellness, Spain’s best golf resort, opened to huge acclaim in 1999 and has hosted three Opens de España (2000, 2009 and 2014), nine European Tour Qualifying School Final Stages (2008-16) and the 2019 European Tour Destinations Senior Classic, as well as the 2021 European Amateur Team Championship, which earned the Stadium Course great praise for its outstanding condition and challenging set-up.