Eight time National Amateur Champion, João Magalhães is one of the newest Portuguese professionals. He sets up home in the Algarve, to attack Europe.
At the age of four, João Magalhães was walking around Quinta do Fojo, in Gaia, with a club in one hand, a bucket of balls in the other, rehearsing swings. At the time, the golfer from Porto tells GOLFE, nobody in the family played. “I started playing by accident,” he remembers. His father had a work meeting at the Quinta do Fojo restaurant, and saw information about a summer golf camp for kids. He enrolled João and his two sisters. João liked it and stayed. Against all odds.
The first coach, Patrícia Brito e Cunha, who was coordinating the camp, would later say in an interview, how that boy, an “authentic baby” in size, impressed her.
She didn't believe he would stay, due to his age, but João Magalhães' passion for the game and extraordinary coordination removed all doubts. A golfer was there, if he wanted to. And he always wanted to.
“If I weren't a golfer, I don't know what I would be! I don't say this as if it were the only thing that made me happy or fulfilled, but the truth is that as I don't think about doing anything else, I don't even know what it would be beyond golf , says the eight times youth National Champion.
The first title came in 2005, at the age of nine, when he was crowned National Under-10 Champion, repeating the victory the following year. In 2007 and 2008 he was U-12 National Champion, and in 2009 he won the U-14 National Championship, a victory he repeated in 2010. In the U-16, he won the National Championship in 2011, and finished second in the following year.
He returned to victories in 2013, becoming National Under-18 Champion, a title he could not revalidate in 2014, as he was at the service of the national team, at the European Team Championship,but he returned in time to finish the National Absolute Championship in 6th place.
Of all that, the 24-year-old golfer who grew up as a member at the Porto Golf Club, highlights the last Junior victory, precisely because he was won at his home club. "It was the most special," he says with a smile. The same smile with which he speaks of another great personal victory: that of being elected Player of the Year in the AAC Conference, in his last year of college in the United States.
“I was also chosen the First Team All-American,” recalls João Magalhães, referring to the time he spent at Point University, in Georgia, United States. He won two individual titles and learned a lot.
“It was the best experience of my life. I gained a lot from going there to study and play. I grew a lot as a player and as a person,” he says, excited, pointing out the lifestyle, the academic environment and the team. "Spectacular. I went back without thinking twice, I created friendships for life.”
However, on this path - as in all paths - there were also setbacks. Bad days. At 16, after losing the 2012 National, he went through a crisis of confidence, which kept him away from the golf courses for a few months. When he returned, he came with the confidence to win the U18 Championship.
Misfortune slammed the door a few months after becoming a professional, a hip injury required a delicate surgery, eight long months of recovery without the possibility of training. “Right now I am fully recovered and training without limitations, but it was tough,” he says, directing the conversation to the future.
The immediate planis playing the Pro Golf Tour, as a way to get to the Challenge Tour. “It is the immediate objective. A prize for my work and the team that accompanies me,” he says, referring to coach Hugo Santos, supervisor David Llewelyn, Miguel Valença who trains and plans the season, physical trainer Afonso Girão, psychologist Maria Serra and physiotherapists Álvaro Magalhães and Bruno. Everything, coordinated by Pedro Lima Pinto, his agent, who in these first steps of João Magalhães professional career, has been getting the support from brands such as Predibisa, Palato, Cork Supply and J Lindeberg, who 'dresses' a golfer that moveded from the cold of the north, to the heat of the Algarve.
"The change was very important for me." In the Algarve, the mecca of national golf, I have all the conditions to “be even more professional.” Several courses to play and practice at. Players to compete with daily. “I practice and play every day with Tomás Bessa, who is a great professional. We push each other a lot,” says João Magalhães, who divides the day between practicing, playing and the gym. “I don't have any distractions and I'm 100% focused,” he guarantees, thanks to the support that the Melo Gouveia family has given me. "I am more of a son to them and I feel at home here."
João Magalhães, whose idols are Pedro Figueiredo - “I am pleased to be a great friend of Pedro. He's a special person, I don't know anyone who doesn't love him. A great player, who is also a great person”- and Justin Rose, does not hide that he strives for the top. “The long-term goals are to be the best possible. I try to work every day to achieve my best, but my dream is to win on the European Tour.”
Until then, you can see him, on the courses of the Algarve, all over the country, and in Europe, with a club in one hand, a ball flying high, rehearsing swings and making birdies.
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