We haven’t either, but this is no joke. So europeantour.com have taken a look at the five men from across the channel, and their Scandinavian counterpart, who have all tasted glory in the Open Blue Green Côtes d'Armor Bretagne.
The tournament has proven to be a chance for redemption, as well as a spring board, to the careers of all that have triumphed here since 2006 when it first appeared on the Challenge Tour schedule, and here are the stories of how each claimed seemingly vital victories in north western France.
May 10, 2012 – May 13, 2012
First up is Eddie Pepperell, got his professional career off to a dream start with a maiden Challenge Tour title at Golf Blue Green de Pléneuf Val André on his debut in the paid ranks. The Englishman has since become famous for his nickname – the Wise Old Owl – with a widely read Tour blog, and a particular interview where he matter-of-factly outlined his own failings and how he now approached his golf career, after a glittering time as an amateur.
In the final round in Brittany, the Englishman birdied four of his final 12 holes during an attritional final day to get into a play-off with Denmark’s Jeppe Huldahl. The 22 year old subsequently won at the first extra hole, which gave Pepperell a permanent category on the Challenge Tour, providing a foundation from which to finish 13th on the Challenge Tour Rankings.
“Winning your first tournament as a pro is always special, but to do it after a play-off and with a back nine like that makes it even more special. I’m just so pleased, not only for myself but for all the members back at Frilford Heath Golf Club who have supported me. I can’t wait for the rest of the season now.”
See how Eddie did it here, with highlights from the 2012 event.
Jun 09, 2011 – Jun 12, 2011
In 2012 Phillip Archer shot a scintillating course record round of 61 in the third round to propel himself from six shots adrift, to two in front with just 18 holes to play. Victory did not prove easy on Sunday though, as the Englishman stumbled to final round of 76, but thankfully for him, on a day plagued by strong winds and rain, no one was able to beat him as he claimed a second career Challenge Tour title.
"My golf’s been in the doldrums for a couple of years now, but I feel like I’m getting back on track. This obviously gives my confidence a big lift but also means I can plan my schedule much better now, because before now I wasn’t guaranteed to get into every tournament with my category. I’ve been working so hard on my game lately, so it’s just great to get the rewards and I can really look forward to the rest of the season now.”
May 6, 2010 – May 9, 2010
Sam Walker set a furious pace after the first round in 2011, leading the way after an opening 63 alongside Manuel Quiros. The following two rounds were not quite so fruitful for the Englishman, but a final day 69 saw him claim his second Challenge Tour victory by a stroke from Frenchman Victor Riu and Raymond Russell of Scotland.
“I was trying not to watch when Victor was coming up the 18th but I snuck a look at where he was hitting his third shot, on the left of the green, and then I just walked away. My phone was ringing like mad. I’m just really pleased with where I am at the moment because of the situation I’ve been in the last year and a half. I’ve got myself out of trouble.”
Lee S James
Dorset native Lee S James romped to Rankings glory in 2002, picking up three titles along the way, as well as another couple of runners up finishes besides. From then on it was a difficult period in the former Amateur Champion’s career until he arrived on the shores of France in May 2009, where he rediscovered that tournament topping form.
A birdie at the first extra hole of a play-off against German rookie Florian Fritsch secured the silverware for James, after a Sunday 68 saw him overhaul a two shot deficit entering the final round.
“I’m very happy with how I played this week and particularly today, because conditions were tough. The wind was blowing as hard as its done all week, so I feel like I earned the win. It’s probably the hardest-fought win of them all, which probably makes it more satisfying because I had to grind really hard.”
Redemption was the overriding emotion at this event some five years ago, as former Ryder Cup star Joakim Haeggman claimed his first Challenge Tour title since 1992, having claimed three European Tour trophies in between.
Starting the day a shot adrift in a four way tie for second, there were plenty around Haeggman who had their eyes on the prize, but a 68 in the final round gave the Swede a one stroke win that he no doubt hoped would inspire a resurgence in form.
“It’s not a case of reaching out blindly to find some form – it’s more a case of looking inside to bring out the game I know I have. If I can find it consistently, I know I’m good enough to compete and win again on The European Tour. That’s the ultimate goal, but I’m taking it one week, one day, one shot at a time.”
England’s Peter Baker won the inaugural staging of this event after rounds of 64-67-65-71 to secure a third Challenge Tour win, and on his 40th birthday, no less. The win gave Baker a second chance at life on The European Tour, after a 12th place finish in the Rankings saw him return to the scene of three career wins, two of which came in 1993, ensuring a Ryder Cup debut at The Belfry where he secured three points from a possible four.