The European Challenge Tour returns to France this week for the Open des Volcans Challenge de France where Scott Drummond, Johan Edfors, James Hepworth and Greig Hutcheon are all aiming for the top of the Rankings at Golf des Volcans.
Edfors, from Sweden, along with Scotsmen Drummond, Hutcheon and Englishman Hepworth - respectively second, fourth, sixth and seventh on the Rankings - could all steal Number One Martin LeMesurier’s mantle by scooping the €20,830 first prize over the 7093 yard par 71 course.
Edfors, currently enjoying his fifth season on the Challenge Tour, will play at Open des Volcans for the first time and is hoping for a victory that would almost certainly secure his place on next season’s European Tour.
“I have never played at Golf des Volcans before so I am really looking forward to it,” said the 27 year old.
“I’d love to win there. I think if I could get one more win this season I would be able to secure a European Tour card, so this is a very important time for me.
“A lot of players are going to Britain to try to qualify for the Open Championship this week, but the Challenge Tour is more important for me the moment. It would be great to get a high finish in France and go one step closer to joining next season’s European Tour.”
Naturally there is a strong contingent of French players set to tee off at Golf des Volcans on Thursday, with over a quarter of the field playing on home soil.
Renaud Guillard was the last Frenchman to win the title in 2000 – as well as finishing joint sixth last year at the venue just outside Clermont Ferrand.
The 30 year old from Lyon has had, by his own admission, a disappointing season so far this year, but is optimistic about his chances of finding some good form in his home country.
“I had my only victory of the Challenge Tour at the Open des Volcans Challenge de France and I also finished in a tie for sixth place there last year so I have some very fond memories of that course,” said Guillard.
“I could have gone one better last season too – I three putted on the last hole for my only bogey and that lost me some money, but I do like the course there.
“The greens are very hard to read, with many slopes and you have to concentrate very hard on the read of every putt so there is a real sense of satisfaction if you can make some putts.
“Unfortunately for me, my putting is letting me down at the moment – this is the reason why I missed the cut in Finland last week so I could be in trouble with those greens if I don’t fix it!
“But I hope that I will be okay because I feel happy playing on Golf des Volcans, so perhaps it will give me some inspiration so that I can get into some good form and continue the season from there because my results this year have been poor.”
In last year’s Open Des Volcans Challenge de France, American Scott Kammann took the title with a 14 under par total of 270 – one shot clear of Nicolas Colsaerts from Belgium.
Marcello Santi was third on 12 under, and Ilya Goronskoul a further shot behind in fourth place.