Charles-Edouard Russo will this week hope to continue his fine form at the Allianz Golf Open Grand Toulouse, having finished in the top six in his last two appearances.
The diminutive Frenchman, who is currently in tenth place in the Challenge Tour Rankings, followed up his tied sixth finish in 2009 with a runner-up finish last year, when Austrian Bernd Wiesberger took the title.
Russo had led the €160,000 event at the midway stage, only to shoot weekend rounds of 73 and 71 to lose out by four strokes to Wiesberger, who coped better with the adverse weather conditions at Golf de Toulouse-Seilh in Seilh, near the historic city of Toulouse.
The tournament, which is the third of four Allianz-sponsored events on this year’s Challenge Tour Schedule, will be held at the 6,924 yard, par 71 course for the sixth successive season this week, when Russo will seek to consolidate his place in the top ten of the Rankings with another polished performance in south-west France.
He said: “There are five par fives and they’re all reachable in two, so you really have to make the most of those holes if you can. The course is quite open, so you can just close your eyes and try to hit it as hard as you can! I hit the ball quite a long way, so the course suits my game.
“I was in the lead after two rounds last year, and was one shot behind after the third round, so I had a big chance to win on the final day. But I remember the weather was terrible and Bernd played very well, so in the end I just had to play for second place.
“Hopefully I can go one better this week and guarantee my place in the top ten of the Rankings. I was disappointed with how I played in Kazakhstan, but I hit the ball much better in Russia last week. Michael Lorenzo-Vera gave me a few swing tips on the range, because I was rotating my body too much, so I should thank him. Hopefully I can win and he can come second!”
In the last four years, the winner of the tournament has gone on to graduate to The European Tour at the end of the season.
Dutchman Joost Luiten, the 2007 champion, was subsequently followed into the winners’ enclosure by Scotland’s Richie Ramsay (2008), Englishman John Parry (2009) and Wiesberger, whose two victories on French soil helped him finish fifth in the Rankings.
Amongst those hoping that trend continues are Germany’s Nicolas Meitinger and England’s Phillip Archer, who won the first two Allianz-sponsored events this year.
Of the home contingent, 2010 Challenge Tour champions Edouard Dubois and Anthony Snobeck, respectively seventh and 14th in the Rankings,will hope to add to their haul of titles this term, whilst their fellow Frenchman Lorenzo-Vera, who ended the 2007 as the Number One graduate, heads to Toulouse in fine fettle on the back of a highly encouraging performance at last week’s M2M Russian Challenge Cup, where he finished in a tie for 11th place.