It’s difficult to keep track of which seasons on which Tours are wrapping up and which are warming up, but regardless of the point in the season, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano may have pulled off the up-and-down of the year on Friday at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters.
The Spaniard was attempting to put the finishing touches on his first round on Friday when he found himself in quite the predicament. Valderrama is famous for its cork oak trees, which are sprinkled throughout the property and often find the ire of players.
Their frustrating presence, however, can be worked around as Fernandez-Castano proved. The cork oaks’ unique features allow for just enough room to make players want to take on particularly difficult shots by playing through them.
Fernandez-Castano didn’t have much of a choice on Thursday, though. With a cork oak directly between his ball and the green, the best option he had to get up and down from a short-sided lie was to play through the tree, and he did so exquisitely.
Best up and down of the year?!@gfcgolf #ValderramaMasters pic.twitter.com/jrFQCLl5V3
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) October 19, 2018
The par at the 18th wrapped up a 1-under par opening round that was heavily impacted by weather. Fernandez-Castano shot 3-under par in his second round to put himself squarely in contention, one shot back of Sergio Garcia and Ashley Chesters as of this writing.
Weather has been the story in Spain. While officials are hoping to get at least 54 holes in by Monday, should the tournament need to be shortened to 36 holes, the European Tour will pay out 75% of the prize pool and award 75% of the Race to Dubai points.