By winning the Galgorm Resort & Spa Northern Ireland Open presented by Modest! Golf earlier this month, Robin Sciot-Siegrist ended nine years without a left-handed winner on the European Challenge Tour.
The Frenchman succeeded Antti Ahokas, who won the ECCO Tour Championship in August 2008, as the most recent southpaw to triumph on the Road to Oman – a fact he was unaware of.
“I did not know that!” said the 23 year old. “I’m very happy to represent left-handers on the Challenge Tour!”
In keeping with a high number of notable left-handed golfers, Sciot-Siegrist likes to play an aggressive brand of golf, shaping his shots and playing with a combination of power and finesse, but he disputes this being considered a uniquely left-handed approach.
“I’ve heard left-handers are more talented!” he said. “I don’t know if it’s true because it’s the same swing, just the other way around – but I don’t think we’re more aggressive necessarily.
“I think we have more imagination though. There are quite a lot of right-handed courses, so left-handers have to adapt to it and find some different shots so maybe that makes us more creative – I don’t know if that’s statistically true or not but that’s how I feel.
“I think the lack of left-handed golfers is more reflective of the fact that there are so few left-handers, so it’s proportionate that there are not too many left-handed golfers or then left-handed winners.”
Unsurprisingly, when asked which player he most admires, Sciot-Siegrist replied: “I love Phil Mickelson. I mean, he’s a magician around the greens. He makes mistakes but he imagines shots that you love to see and that’s what I like too.”
It came as some surprise, though, for him to learn that his idol is, like him, a Challenge Tour winner, the American having claimed victory in the Tournoi Perrier de Paris at Golf Euro Disney in 1993.
“Really? Phil won?” he asked in disbelief. “I didn’t know that! That’s great – I’m in good company as a Challenge Tour winner then!”
Currently tenth in the Road to Oman Rankings, Sciot-Siegrist is preparing for a first tournament on home soil since he entered the winner's circle at this week’s Cordon Golf Open and looking to continue his strong 2017 form as he bids to secure a European Tour card for next season.
Last year at Golf Blue Green de Pléneuf Val Andre, he opened with a fine 64 before fading over the weekend but this year he feels more prepared to go on the attack when necessary on the testing Brittany course.
“I’ve just got to keep going,” he said. “It’s a new tournament, 156 players that can win this week, so I’ve just got to keep myself in shape so it’s not really different.
“The expectation comes more from myself. Now that I have a lot of points up, I need to keep going and be aggressive, try to make more birdies to get as many points as possible.
“That said, this week you need to be intelligent as well because this course can be tricky at times. But my mentality is pretty much the same, just keep going.
“My swing is feeling good so why not take a couple more risks? Finishing 30th doesn’t really do much good so maybe I can be a little bit more aggressive – there’s a couple of things I can change to how I played here last year so I’ll definitely look to do that.
“I had a good first round here last year and did a lot of things really well that week, my putting was suited to the course, so hopefully that can be the case this week as well.“Northern Ireland was really the perfect time to win. Coming into the Rolex Trophy and now with the bigger tournaments coming up, I’ve got a great chance to finish in the top 15 this season, I just need to keep going.”