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Monday, 01 October 2007

With four top four finishes in his last six events, François Delamontagne is hoping to complete a startling ascent up the European Challenge Tour Rankings with a dream victory in his native France at this week’s Open A.G.F. Allianz Côtes d’Armor Bretagne.

Delamontagne, second to Peter Whiteford at the Dutch Futures last week, has picked the right time of the season to make a charge up the Rankings. With just four events of the season remaining, starting at the Golf Blue Green de Pléneuf Val André on Thursday, the 28 year old from Paris has made gains in his battle to regain his place on The European Tour.

Seven weeks ago, Delamontange was 161st on the Rankings, but a superb run of form beginning with a fourth place finish at the Lexus Open, followed by another fourth at the ECCO Tour Championship and then a fifth at the OKI Mahou Challenge de España were complimented by his second place finish in The Netherlands last Sunday, taking him to 27th on the Rankings, and one big week away from securing a place in the top 20 to win a European Tour card.

Delamontagne is a huge threat to the field at the at the Open A.G.F. Allianz Côtes d’Armor Bretagne.
A player who has graced The European Tour with some fantastic performances – most notably at the 2005 Open de France when he finished fourth – he has the experience and the game to satisfy his hunger to return to the top level.

While Delamontange is the form Frenchman of the moment, Michael Lorenzo-Vera is the 2007 Challenge Tour’s Frenchman for all seasons.

Since his fifth place finish at the Club Colombia Masters at the start of the season, Lorenzo-Vera has been one of the players of the year, developing a rather handy knack of finishing high on the leaderboard and picking up significant cheque after cheque.

Lorenzo-Vera may not have won a tournament this year, but his eight finishes of sixth place of better have made him one of the richest players on tour in 2007. He is currently fourth on the Rankings with €84,223, and will be looking to come out near the top of the leaderboard once again this week as he looks to close the gap on Number One, Felipe Aguilar of Chile.

Whiteford , now 26th on the Rankings, is another form player looking to strike while the irons are hot, so to speak. The Scot had originally withdrawn from the Open A.G.F. Allianz Côtes d’Armor Bretagne, but after his brilliant maiden win in Holland last week, has re-entered the tournament in the hope of continuing his winning form.

It would come as no surprise to anyone on the Challenge Tour if Whiteford was to triumph again this week after witnessing the back to back winning exploits of the English pair Robert Dinwiddie and Iain Pyman already this season.

If Whiteford can win, he, like Delamontagne, would guarantee a place on The 2008 European Tour.

“Another win would do it I think,” said the Scotsman. “But there are a lot of players in a similar position to me so it will be another tough week in France. I wasn’t going to play this week, but I think you have to keep playing when you are in good form, and especially at this stage of the season.

“I still have a bit of work to do to win a European Tour card, but I think winning in Holland was a big step. There are hundreds of players on the Challenge Tour who are good enough to win and, while I knew I was among them, it has made a big difference actually doing it.”

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