The European Challenge Tour will visit France four times this year after the Open de Provence by Hopps Group was added to the 2018 schedule, taking place from September 20-23 at Golf International de Pont Royal in Mallemort, Southern France.
In what is a landmark year for French golf, with Paris’s Le Golf National holding The 2018 Ryder Cup, Europe’s top developmental tour will visit the Ryder Cup host nation on four occasions, including the week before the biennial contest.
Following trips to the Hauts de France Golf Open in Saint Omer in June, Le Vaudreuil Challenge in July and the Cordon Golf Open in Pléneuf-Val-André in August, the stunning Golf International de Pont Royal will welcome the Challenge Tour in September, just one week before Europe compete against the United States in the French capital.
Although hosting a Challenge Tour event for the first time this year, Golf International Pont de Royal is no stranger to championship golf having held an Alps Tour event for ten years.
The Seve Ballesteros-designed layout, which is the only course in France designed by the 50-time European Tour winner, opened in 1992 and is widely-acclaimed for its slick greens and highland holes which offer stunning views of the Luberon and Alpilles mountain ranges.
Set in pine woods in the commune of Mallemort, between Aix en Provence and Avignon, the picturesque layout is 30 minutes from both Marseille and Avignon airports.
“We are delighted to confirm that the Open de Provence by Hopps Group is joining our 2018 schedule,” said Alain de Soultrait, Director of the European Challenge Tour.
“All the eyes of the golfing world will be on France in September and as part of the build up to The Ryder Cup we are holding our own tournament which will feature plenty of future stars.
“Ryder Cup heroes Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, Martin Kaymer, Ian Poulter and Thomas Bjørn all came through Challenge Tour ranks, and have gone on to reach the summit of world golf after starting on our tour.
“Golf International de Pont Royal is an excellent course and we have to thank all those involved at the highly-regarded venue for agreeing to host a Challenge Tour event.
“We must also thank Hopps Group, the French Federation and Pro Sports Events for helping us to get this new event up and running.”
“We are very happy to promote the Open de Provence by Hopps Group at the Pont Royal,” said Julien Nazarian, from Pro Sports Events.
“The golf course is of the highest quality and is recognised as the only Ballesteros design in France, and we felt that the south of France and Provence in particular deserves to host an international professional event. The Challenge Tour represents for us the perfect opportunity in this special Ryder Cup year."
“As a leader of delivery and local communication with a national headquarter based in Aix en Provence, we are delighted to be the sponsor of the Open de Provence by Hopps Group on such a beautiful site and in a region that is particularly dear to us,” said Eric Paumier, Co-President of Hopps Group.
“This partnership, with a Challenge Tour event, will allow us to strengthen the reputation of our group and highlight our brands such as Adrexo, Colis Privé, Dispéo, Pataugas and Watts.”
“We are excited to welcome the Challenge Tour to Pont Royal,” said Jerome Lauredi, General Manager of Golf International de Pont Royal.
“Down the years the venue has proved itself more than capable of having the infrastructure required to handle such an event, in addition, naturally, to having a golf course well suited to testing professionals and amateurs alike.”