Adrien Saddier will tee it up in this week’s Cordon Golf Open desperate to shake his reputation as the European Challenge Tour’s nearly man following a third runner-up finish of the season at the Rolex Trophy.
The Frenchman lost to Pedro Oriol in a play-off at the prestigious Geneva event after missing a putt to win on the final green, but he arrived at Golf Blue Green de Pléneuf Val Andre trying to take the positives from another good result.
The 25 year old has strengthened his position in the top 15 of the Road to Oman Rankings, who will graduate to the European Tour at the end of the season, and he is keen to add to his sole Challenge Tour victory at last year’s Challenge de España.
“Finishing second, you’ve always had a great week,” he said. “It’s obviously disappointing, I had a putt to win and unfortunately it didn’t drop this time, but I played well all week, my game was really solid.
“It’s a bit different to the other times. In Kenya and Denmark I finished birdie-birdie and I was two or three shots behind the winner I think, so it’s different because I wasn’t really in contention. I was close, but the trophy wasn’t for me – this time, I was very close, so that’s a big difference.
“I was in contention even with two double bogeys during the week so my game was pretty good, my putting was really hot, so all in all it was a good week and I think I can finish the work now to be in the top 15 at the end of the year.
“There is still work to do for sure. I am very close, I don’t know how many points will be needed for the 15 cards this year, but if I make one more top five finish, or if I win, that will be enough.
“I’m just focused on playing my best in every tournament and then we will see, but I am ready to win – I won last year and I’ve been so close lately, it’s been too long so hopefully it might come this week.”
The picturesque Brittany course would appear to be the perfect scene for an overdue victory, particularly given Saddier’s previous form at the venue, where he finished fourth in only his fourth event after turning professional.
“This week in Pléneuf, I really like the course,” he said. “It was my first top five as a professional, four years ago, so I have some good memories here and I think I can play on those.
“It’s looking firm so I think you won’t need to hit big drives, just hit the fairways and put yourself in the best position to attack the flags – it’s not really target golf, so it’s nice for me.
“It’s always great to play in France but especially here, where the landscape is so beautiful. The tenth and the 11th holes are so nice, by the coast, and with last week being so close to home as well it’s almost like two weeks playing home events, so that’s a good thing.”
Saddier will lock horns with Oriol once again as the two play together for the opening two rounds of the tournament, with six of last week’s top seven in the field.
Defending champion Alvaro Velasco completes the marquee three ball with Oriol and Saddier, while last year’s runner-up Oscar Stark will aim for a second win of the season.
Local hopes will surround amateur Pierre-Yves Rolland, who will be playing his home course this week after earning a spot at Monday’s qualifier, played at Golf Blue Green Val Queven.
French amateur champion Frederic Lacroix will also attract attention while Robin Sciot-Siegrist will tee it up on home soil as a Challenge Tour winner for the first time following his victory in Northern Ireland earlier this month.