Bulgarian triumph at Balkan Challenge Trophy 2011
Two days of good golf, excellent weather, incredible spirit and perfect organization – this is how players and guests will remember the Balkan Challenge Trophy, organized by the Bulgarian Golf Association with the support of R&A, which took place at the BlackSeaRama golf course. Invaluable friendships and shared plans for the development of the sport in the region turned the competition into a real golf celebration on the Balkans. Albanian prince Leka II, 2010 BG Open champion Koray Varli and Keith Hodgkinson – chairman of the R&A Development Committee (the managing institution in the world of golf) were among the guests of this unique in its scope and importance golf tournament.
The 47 players from 11 different countries – Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania, Macedonia, Turkey, Cyprus, Croatia, Moldova, Slovenia, theCzechRepublic, and Albania, were divided in two divisions according to their handicap. The opening of the tournament was worthy of a great competition – under the sounds of a solemn march the participants, led by their captains, entered BlackSeaRama’s clubhouse, wearing the flags of their countries. This is how the biggest golf event in the region so far commenced.
“The organization of the tournament is world-class, the course is faultless”, said Keith Hodgkinson, chairman of the R&A Development Committee, who arrived in Bulgaria specially for the Balkan Challenge Trophy.
Bulgariais the initiator of the event and will host it next year, too, when the tournament will take place at the Thracian Cliffs Golf Club. After that the tournament will be hosted by other Balkan countries on a rotation principle.
The Minister of Sports Svilen Neykov also arrived at BlackSeaRama to witness the competition and to meet with Keith Hodgkinson and the President of the Bulgarian Golf Association Krassimir Guergov. Mr. Hodgkinson appreciated the government’s engagement to cooperate for the transformation of the military airport near Balchick into a civil one, because he thinks that this will play a significant part in the development of golf tourism in the region. “With the opening of Thracian Cliffs last month the region around Balchik is now an attractive destination for golf players from all over the world”, said Mr. Guergov.
Enthusiastic about the skills of the players in the tournament, Minister Svilen Neykov took his first golf lesson at the BlackSeaRama practice course and promised to master his golf skills. “I am certain that golf has a great future in Bulgaria thanks to the presence of first-class courses and the organization of big events, such as the Balkan Challenge Trophy”, said Minister Neykov.
After the first round the A division was headed by the Turkish team, which included the 2010 BG Open Champion Koray Vartli, followed by the teams of theCzech RepublicandSlovenia. The Bulgarian team, which consisted of Emil Markov, Peter Kaloyanov, and Lyubomir Kostov, was fifth. In the B division our team, which included Stanko Marinov, Stephan Georgiev and Emil Kaloyanov, headed the rankings, followed by the Romanian and Croatian golfers.
The perfectly prepared course and the nice weather made the second day battle a disputed and dynamic one. There were no surprises, though – in the stronger A division the Turkish team deserved the first place. Second and third came the teams ofSloveniaand theCzechRepublic. The Bulgarian team did a worthy performance and finished sixth in the final rankings.
The big success forBulgariawas achieved in the B division, where our golfers took the first place, beating the Romanian team to it by just two shots. It was an unforgettable experience for all guests to hear the Bulgarian anthem at the BlackSeaRama amphitheater. The team of the golf club and the team of the Bulgarian Golf Association received a well-deserved applause for the organization of the Balkan Challenge Trophy 2011.