Martin Wiegele will hope to re-write the history books this week by becoming the first man to successfully defend title in the SAINT-OMER OPEN presented by Neuflize OBC.
Two weeks after capturing his second Challenge Tour title at the Kärnten Golf Open presented by Mazda in his homeland, Wiegele notched his maiden European Tour victory at Aa St Omer Golf Club in Lumbres, northern France, which has hosted event since 2000, initially on the Challenge Tour and subsequently, from 2003, when it became a dual-ranking event.
The Austrian, who had spent the week between his two victories at a rock concert with his girlfriend, closed with a round of 68 to take the title and with it an exemption on The European Tour until the end of this year.
Other former champions in this week’s field include England’s David Dixon, who pipped Christian Nilsson to the title in 2008, a year before the Swede himself went one better.
Dixon arrives at Aa St Omer Golf Club on the back of an encouraging performance at last week’s BMW Italian Open presented by CartaSi, where he finished in tied 15th place, and the 34 year old is confident of mounting a strong challenge at the €600,000 event.
He said: "I’ve done well at St Omer in the past and I’m starting to play nicely, so I felt I could do with going there and having a right go to try to win it again, which would take the pressure off for the rest of the year. The stars of The European Tour either tend to take a week off or head over to the US Open, so it’s a great opportunity for those who don’t have the best rankings to grab some of the limelight.so the more you play the course, the better you get. I’m really looking forward to going back."
Of the home contingent, three-time European Tour champion Jean-François Remesy will hope to bring a wealth of experience to bear whilst Welshman Jamie Donaldson, currently 37th in The Race to Dubai, will be bidding to continue a sensational run of form which has seen him finish in the top ten in three of his past four events, including a tie for seventh at the BMW PGA Championship.
From the Challenge Tour half of the field, England’s Phillip Archer heads to St Omer in good heart, having captured his second Challenge Tour title at last week’s Allianz Open Côtes d’Armor Bretagne.
He said: "I’ve never played that well at St Omer in the past, but then again I’ve never gone into the event playing that well either. So hopefully I can have better fortunes this week, because it’s a huge event for everyone on the Challenge Tour."