Raphaël Jacquelin will be looking to continue the French assault on The European Tour with a successful defence of the BMW Asian Open at Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club in China.
The last three regular European Tour events have seen France record two wins and a second with Thomas Levet winning the MAPFRE Open de Andalucia by Valle Romano, Grégory Bourdy capturing the Estoril Open de Portugal and then, after the Masters Tournament, Michael Lorenzo-Vera claiming his highest finish in his rookie season of joint second in last week’s Volvo China Open.
Boosted by fond memories of his wire-to-wire victory in Shanghai a year ago, Jacquelin is hoping he too can find top gear in the BMW Asian Open, sanctioned by The European Tour, Asian Tour and China Golf Association.
“It is all about good memories and it is good for me personally at the moment to get some pleasure coming here,” said Jacquelin. “I am looking forward to starting on Sunday and if I can get my game together it should be a good week.”
Jacquelin is not surprised by the recent success of his compatriots and stressed they were all working hard to improve, particularly in terms of World Ranking as despite their recent form, France is currently lacking a representative within the World Top 100, Bourdy being the highest ranked player in 101st position.
“It is nice to see the success,” added Jacquelin. “It is not a big surprise as the French group is improving a lot. We are all working hard to compete at the top in Europe and maybe later the top of the world. That is the goal for all the players on Tour and the French Federation is working hard to bring more players to the top of the world as we are not doing so well in the World Rankings. That’s the next goal for us.
“It was good to see Thomas back in form. Grégory won last year and then again this season and he is working hard on every part of his game. He is concentrating on what he has to do. And then there was Michael last week. That was his best finish and he has great potential. He has a good mental approach, never gives up. And he is young. And when you win the Challenge Tour, it is no surprise to see him challenging for the title. And Christian Cevaër played well last week, so we are all playing well and if the whole group can improve then we will be even better.
“All the other French guys are working hard as no-one wants to be last. There is a lot of competition and it is good. It’s the way to go. And maybe we will see a French player in The Ryder Cup team at the end of the year.”
Jacquelin launches his defence in the company of Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn and India’s Jyoti Randhawa on Thursday.