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Spain’s first winner: Antonio Garrido

Spain’s first winner: Antonio Garrido

As golfing royalty goes, Antonio Garrido is up there with the best of them.

Antonio Garrido 1972

One of the leading Spaniards when the European Tour was established in 1972, Garrido etched his name into golfing folklore on a number of occasions – and also made his mark on the European Challenge Tour.

The Spaniard won the first ever official European Tour event, triumphing on home soil at the Spanish Open following a play-off against compatriot Valentin Barrios.

He secured a further four European Tour titles in the 14 years which followed, including twice in 1977 when he won the Madrid Open and the Benson & Hedges International Open on his way to finishing a career-best third on the Order of Merit.

It was during that same season he teamed up with the late, great Seve Ballesteros to represent his home nation at the World Cup of Golf in Manila, Philippines.

The duo earned a three-stroke victory to win the team event while Garrido finished eighth in the individual competition, one stroke behind Ballesteros in tied sixth, while the legendary Gary Player came out on top.

Ballesteros and Garrido were at the top of their game and two years later made history when they became the first Continental Europeans to represent Team Europe at The Ryder Cup.

The 1979 Ryder Cup was a watershed moment in the event’s history as it was the first time the biennial showpiece was contested by a European side encompassing the whole continent, as it had previously pitted the United States against a team from Great Britain and Ireland.

Garrido had picked up a knack of becoming the first golfer to achieve a certain feat, and that continued into the 1990s.

The European Challenge Tour was in its infancy having been founded in 1989 and despite having full privileges on the European Tour, Garrido opted to tee it up at the Torras Hostench in his home country.

The outcome was the same as his first European Tour appearance on home soil. Garrido blazed the trail which many a Spaniard would walk in years to come by winning on the Challenge Tour.

After his Challenge Tour success, Garrido won twice on the Staysure Tour (then the European Senior Tour) to become the first player to win on all three tours, while his son, Ignacio, triumphed first on the Challenge Tour and then twice on the European Tour.

Ignacio continued the Garrido Family tradition of firsts by playing in the first Ryder Cup to be held on Continental Europe at Valderrama Golf Club in 1997. The pair therefore became only the second father and son duo to compete in the biennial showpiece after Percy and Peter Alliss.

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