Professionals and amateurs from around the golfing world joined José María Olazábal, the two-time Masters champion, in the inaugural Olazábal and Friends Charity Pro-Am that took place from November 24-27 at Costa Navarino.

The pro-am brought the destination’s golfing season to a fitting finale of an exciting year, during which it was named as the ‘World’s Best Emerging Golf Destination’ at the 2022 World Golf Awards.

Miguel Ángel Jiménez, the winner of 34 titles worldwide and who has appeared in four Ryder Cups, was among the players who joined the three days of the premium golfing event at the Mediterranean’s prime sustainable destination.

Amateurs had the exclusive opportunity to join Olazábal and his professional friends in an up-close and intimate experience, playing at Costa Navarino’s two new courses at Navarino Hills, which were designed by him and opened last February.

Costa Navarino’s International Olympic Academy Golf Course hosted one of the Pro-Am rounds

Featuring 14 teams, with each team comprising one professional and three amateurs, the pro-am included a practice round and two separate 18-hole competitions on the world’s first International Olympic Academy Golf Course – voted the ‘World’s Best New Golf Course’ at the 2022 World Golf Awards – and The Hills Course.

The impressive line-up of professionals featured the winners of a combined total of 68 European Tour titles including Spain’s Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño, Santiago Luna and José Manuel Lara; Emanuele Canonica from Italy; France’s Christian Cevaer; 2021 Senior Open champion Stephen Dodd and Welsh compatriot Phillip Price, a member of Europe’s victorious 2002 Ryder Cup side.

Olazabal showed that he hadn’t lost any of his magic when winning his head-to-head match against his old friend Miguel Angel Jimenez

Olazábal took the top spot in a head-to-head team competition with Jiménez with a winning score of -59, while Lara claimed the top honours in the individual professional competition ahead of Portugal’s Ricardo Santos and Lorenzo Gagli from Italy with a 36-hole total of four-under-par.

Olazábal said: “Our goal was to raise money for children in need and at the same time offer our guests a great time. I am so happy we achieved that and I would like to thank the Costa Navarino team and also my dear friend Miguel Ángel Jiménez and our fellow pros for helping us deliver a successful premiere. We cant wait to return again in 2023. Thank you all for your generosity.“

Jiménez said: “When José María calls, you know it is going to be something special. It truly was – a spectacular region, great golf courses, amazing guests, perfect organisation and all this for a good cause. Congratulations to all involved. My wife, Susanne, and I loved our time here and we already look forward to coming back to Costa Navarino.“

Social events including two dinners, a prize-giving lunch and post-event party and a golf clinic with Jiménez were also part of the event, with all proceeds being donated to Sport Mundi, the Spanish non-profit organisation chaired by José María Olazábal, which supports children in need.

In addition, the tournament supported the ‘Clean Messinia’ initiative, led by the Captain Vassilis & Carmen Constantakopoulos Foundation and Costa Navarino, which aims to support and engage the local communities in a more sustainable way of waste management.

For more information about the Olazábal and Friends Charity Pro-Am and details on how to enter a team for 2023, visit www.olazabalandfriends.com

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