Petr Dedek, the entrepreneur behind bringing the Challenge Tour back to the Czech Republic, is hoping the second edition of the D+D Real Czech Challenge Open can prove the launch-pad for a Czech golfing dynasty.
Dedek is an ardent advocate for the development of sport in the Czech Republic, having previously sponsored an ice hockey team in Vrchlabi – his local town – for seven years.
Now, with Dedek’s vision and financial acumen, he is looking to build a tradition for golf in the Czech Republic and is acutely aware that local players have to be at the heart of that bid.
A keen golfer himself, Dedek’s commitment to the tournament sprang from a desire to provide a platform for Czech players to compete at a top level.
And while the country is yet to have a The European Tour member, Marek Novy this year became the first to hold a full card on the Challenge Tour and Dedek believes the future is bright for golf in his native land.
“We have great plans for the future – we would like to create long-lasting tradition out of the tournament, because we feel that this is the right way for our Czech players to enter the ‘big league’,” said Dedek, who is the president of the tournament sponsors D+D Real and tournament promoters RELMOST.
“Aside of this tournament we at RELMOST are creating new project, a professional golf team for Czech players. We would like to give them as much support as they can get.
“We think that playing experiences on the Challenge Tour are extremely valuable for those young players who want to become future stars. And we very much hope that one day we will see Czech flag on The European Tour.”
The Challenge Tour returned to the Czech Republic last year for the inaugural edition of the D+D Real Czech Challenge Open as Denmark’s Andreas Hartø triumphed.
“Preparations for the tournament were easier than last year, because our team is well trained from the previous year,” he continued.
“The first year of the tournament we did not know many things. This year we were much more experienced since the organisation committee did not change much. So everything has been very smooth.”
With half a year’s worth of rain falling in the weeks leading up to this year’s championship, Dedek credits the course management team for turning out a superbly manicured layout despite the testing conditions.
“The weather is always a big factor – especially this year,” he reflected. “But I have to say that we are fortunate enough not to be affected with all the floods as in other parts of our country. Last year, we had extremely good weather and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for this week!
“Michel Voigts and his team of green-keeping staff have worked wonders in getting the course in such amazing condition despite the awful weather and the players seem to really appreciate it. There have been so many nice comments on the course.”
Ondrej Lieser, who was the leading Czech player last year after finishing in a tie for 33rd in 2012, shot a three under par 69 in the opening round on Thursday and said afterwards: “This is my home course so I know every little piece of it – and that was to my advantage. I was struggling at the beginning of the season but I felt that I can get better with a little help. And on the home course I feel that I have that little help!”
Czech native Stanislav Matus, meanwhile, who was schooled at the University of Arizona in the United States, shot an opening two under par 70 in the first round, and was full of flattery for the influence Dedek and the promoters are having on Czech golf.
He said: “It’s really important for golf in this country that we keep an event of this sort of profile in the Czech Republic. The promoter does a lot of things for us and if he can keep this on the schedule for a number of years now it is really going to be huge for Czech golf.
“Hopefully someone can take advantage of the opportunity and make it to The European Tour one day.”