The Challenge Tour remains in France this week but moves north from Clermont Ferrand to the outskirts of Paris for the Challenge Total Fina Elf at Golf de Joyenval near Chambourcy.
This will be the second successive year that the club has hosted a European Tour event. A year ago, virtually to the day, Joyenval was the scene of the Total Fina Elf Seniors Open won by England’s Nick Job.
The club is situated to the west of the French capital in a picturesque area and has two courses, the Retz and the Marly. The tournament will be played over the latter, which measures 6,249 metres (6,973 yards).
Joyenval is comparatively young, being opened in 1992. It is the work of the late Robert Trent Jones and is typical of his designs with a profusion of bunkers and undulating greens.
The greens are its main defence and while the course has a somewhat links appearance, it is a parkland layout with plenty of space although a few holes are tree-lined.
The Challenge Tour field this week is a strong one and marks the return of ranking leader Sebastien Delagrange. He has enjoyed a fortnight’s holiday following his back-to-back victories at St Omer and Danish Opens and will feel at ease as the Joyenval course is just 20 minutes from his Paris home.
The 27 year old Frenchman joins the rest of this season’s champions, while three of last year’s winner are also in action along with a host of other players who have come close to achieving their maiden success.
Several players who have been in action on the main tour in recent weeks, are also in the field including Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium, Italy’s Marcello Santi, Mark Pilkington from Wales, and the English pair of Neil Cheetham and Steven Richardson.
The continuing race to see who will finish in the top 15 at the end of the season will gather momentum as all but one of those currently occupying the leading 15 places will be at Joyenval. Prize money this week is 122,000 Euro with 20,330 going to the winner.