Saracens favourite Schalk Brits proved he was just as handy with a golf club as he is with the rugby ball today in Sardinia, edging out a star-studded field of celebrities at Pevero Golf Club as part of a special festival of sport at The Costa Smeralda Invitational 2017.
After receiving some crucial tips from Solheim Cup captain Annika Sorenstam – who led a clinic before the golf event kicked off – Brits surged to victory in the Sardinian sunshine, finishing ahead of football legends Gianfranco Zola and Michael Ballack, who finished second and third respectively. Sorenstam was one of the main attractions, leading a ‘Beat The Pro’ contest, sponsored by tournament presenting partner, Salesforce.
“It’s been an unbelievable event – I’ve had so, so much fun and the course was brilliant,” said Brits, who was presented with the coveted winner’s jacket from defending champion Zola. “There’s so much going on apart from the golf at this event. I would love to come back to The Costa Smeralda Invitational – why wouldn’t you? The money raised is a massive thing, lots will be raised tonight for a really great cause.”
Other high-profile names who took part in the golf competition included former Chelsea star Roberto Di Matteo, Premier League hitman Peter Crouch, cricket sensation Brian Lara and Hollywood star James Nesbitt. On behalf of sponsor Richard-Mille, five-time Ladies European Tour winner Diana Luna was another who made a special guest appearance.
Whilst Brits took home the honours in the celebrity golf tournament, Navid Chamdia recorded the best score of the day, scoring an impressive 36 points over the beautiful and challenging Pevero layout.
Golf wasn’t the only attraction at this year’s Costa Smeralda Invitational. The third edition of the event expanded beyond a Celeb-Am golf tournament and included a tennis tournament hosted by Wimbledon champion Pat Cash, a water-skiing challenge with fashion designer Melissa Odabash and a cycling tour.
The Costa Smeralda Invitational concluded with a glitzy Gala Dinner in aid of the Global Gift Foundation, where several high-profile Global Gift Foundation Ambassadors were in attendance – including TV stars Pamela Anderson, Alesha Dixon and actor Craig McGinlay. Former James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan was another major name to don the red carpet at the stunning Cala di Volpe hotel.
The dinner finished with an auction hosted by British entertainment presenter Denise Van Outen to help raise money for women, children and families in need around the world.
Golf host and 10-time Major winner Sorenstam said: “This was my first time in Sardinia and it was incredible. The Costa Smeralda Invitational is a wonderful tournament and it was amazing to see so
many high-profile celebrities turn out to raise money for a great charity.”
Other celebrity guests who took part in the fun-filled golf event at Pevero Golf Club were Bayern Munich legend Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamizic and Scotland rugby stars Max and Thom Evans. Sandrine Testud, the former French tennis star, British comedian Dom Joly and TV and radio personality Jamie Theakston completed a star-studded line-up.
The Costa Smeralda Invitational is managed by Professional Sports Group as a celebration of sport and La Dolce Vita in to raise money for charity.
Celebrity guest list
Michael Ballack, Pat Cash, Schalk Brits, Roberto Di Matteo, Peter Crouch, Max Evans, Thom Evans, Dom Joly, Brian Lara, Diana Luna (on behalf of Richard-Mille), James Nesbitt, Hasan Salihamizic, Annika Sorenstam, Sandrine Testud, Jamie Theakston, Denise Van Outen, Gianfranco Zola Global Gifters Pamela Anderson, Alesha Dixon, Craig McGinlay