Bulgaria will host its first European Tour golf event in 2013, when the Volvo Match Play Championship will be held at the Thracian Cliffs course near Kavarna on May 16-19, on the country’s Black Sea coast.
The tournament was played in Spain between 2009 and 2012, but Volvo has asked that its location is rotated around Europe.
“Volvo was the first company to bring a European Tour event to China and we are the first to take a full European Tour event to Bulgaria, as Eastern Europe is an important business area for us […] Everyone at Volvo looks forward to welcoming Bulgaria to the ‘family’ of exclusive host destination partners,” Per Ericsson, president of Volvo Event Management, said in a statement.
“We are delighted to be working with the Bulgarian Government and the Bulgarian Golf Association and are thrilled that they have committed their support to this prestigious and historic Championship,” he said.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said, in the same statement: “This is a real coup for Bulgaria being chosen to host such a prestigious international tournament with a rich heritage and sporting traditions. The vast media coverage will deliver a reputable boost for Bulgaria and our tourism industry. The recent growth of golf in our country will have the opportunity to be showcased around the world.”
Defending World Match Play champion Nicolas Colsaerts said: “I’ve never been to Bulgaria but I’ve heard great things about the country and Thracian Cliffs and I can’t wait to defend my title there in May next year.”
Bulgaria has undergone a golf boom over the past decade, with several courses opening during that period, but despite being often mentioned as an up-and-coming golf destination, the country has never had this kind of spotlight on itself before.
Thracian Cliffs, whose course was designed by Gary Player, himself a five-time winner of the Match Play Championship between 1965 and 1973, has been described as ‘Pebble Beach of Europe’, referring to the picturesque nature of both golf courses.
(Top photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)