The European Tour returns to Russia for the first time in five years with the M2M Russian Open at the stunning Tseleevo Golf and Polo Club this week.
After three successful years hosting the Challenge Tour, this Jack Nicklaus designed course hosts European Tour competition for the first time with all three previous winners in the field looking to rekindle that winning feeling.
Spain’s Carlos Del Moral (2010), England’s Sam Little (2011) and Frenchman Alex Kaleka (2012) have also tasted success here and looking for repeat performances, as is the current course record holder, Tommy Fleetwood, who shot a six under par 66 in the 2010 M2M Russian Challenge Cup.
Michael Campbell, the 2005 US Open Champion, is joined by a host of European Tour champions including India’s most successful golfer, Jeev Milkha Singh, former Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year and Portugal Masters Champion Tom Lewis and six-time Tour winner Simon Dyson.
It is also an opportunity for some of the lesser lights to shine and secure their place among the game’s elite for next season, much as Peter Uihlien did in Madeira and Simon Thornton in St Omer, and for Russia’s golfers to showcase their emerging talent.
The three Russian professionals in the field are former tennis grand slam champion Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Andrey Pavlov and Konstantin Lifanov and they are joined by five Russian amateurs.
Russia has provided the launchpad for a number of players over the years, including Jamie Donaldson, winner of the 2012 Irish Open and this year’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Champions, whose first professional victory came in the Challenge Tour in Russia in 2002.
The last time the M2M Russian Open was played on The European Tour, Sweden’s Mikael Lundberg claimed the title in 2008. This was three years after he won the event for the first time in 2005 and he will hoping to become the first player to win the title three times. Indeed, Lundberg was the last player to win the same European Tour event for their first two Tour titles.
Tseleevo Golf and Polo Club, a classic Jack Nicklaus Design, has been carved out of mature forestland which adds character to the shape of all the holes combined with natural looking water features which compliment this majestic course. It has received rave reviews from those players who have faced the challenge over the last three years as one of the finest courses on the schedule.