Alexander Levy followed in the spike marks of Brett Rumford by winning the Volvo China Open on Sunday, and the Frenchman is hoping for more of the same in Singapore this week at The Championship at Laguna National.
Australian Rumford completed back-to-back victories in the two events 12 months ago, albeit in a different order and at different venues, and Levy, The European Tour’s newest champion, can follow suit with victory at Laguna National Golf & Country Club.
The 23 year old showed impressive composure in completing a four stroke triumph in China to claim his maiden European Tour title.
Having retained his card in 2013 by finishing one place inside the all-important top 110 on The Race to Dubai, Levy now finds himself facing a different kind of pressure, as he attempts to build upon his breakthrough win.
“I lost a lot of energy in the last tournament because it was tough with the pressure,” he said. “But it’s nice because I played well and I want to continue to play well.
“You want to carry it on into the next few weeks. I want to get straight back on to the course and try to do the same job.
“The reaction has been great after the win in China. I’ve had lots of message congratulating me. But now it is back to work, and time to focus on my game. When you win it is great and you want to be in that position again.
“It would be hard to do what Brett did, and I’m just trying to focus on playing my golf and take pleasure on the course.
“This week I don’t have the same pressure as I have had over the last few months. It’s a new thing for me to be a winner on the Tour, but my game doesn’t change. My position in the rankings has changed, and maybe the tournaments I can play, but not my game. I need to continue to progress and do the same job I did last week again.”
Levy’s progress through the amateur and professional ranks has been closely monitored by his compatriot Raphaël Jacquelin, the four-time European Tour champion. The pair share the same coach and Jacquelin believes Levy is well-equipped to make it to the top of the game.
“It was a great win for Alex, especially after being up there from the start,” said Jacquelin. “He did fantastic to hang on. It was only really the second time he has contended. The first time was in Munich when he was up against Ernie Els in the third round and he finished third.
“He was a World Champion with the French Amateur team, and I’ve practised quite a lot with him down at Terre Blanche as we have the same coach. He’s a good player. He has everything you need to win, so it was not really a surprise to us as French players to see him do it.
“He handled the pressure very well, which is always difficult the first time you have to do it. I was very pleased for him because he is a good friend. He’s very talented and he is very young. He has a lot of time to progress but he is already winning, and he is ready to follow Victor Dubuisson to the very top.”
Dubuisson has been blazing a trail on the world stage in recent months, winning the Turkish Airlines Open last November before reaching the final of the WGC – Accenture Match Play Championship in February to virtual ensure he will be part of the European Team for The Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.
With four years to go until Le Golf National hosts biennial contest, and with Dubuisson and Levy among an exciting crop of French players emerging to complement the existing wealth of experienced Tour stars, Jacquelin admits these are exciting times for golf in his homeland.
“We knew there were a lot of young guys who had talent, but you don’t know if they will actually do it,” he said. “Victor showed the way and now Alex has done it too. Romain Wattel has not won yet but he has been close and he has everything you need, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him win very soon.
“Victor has taken a big step forward with his performances recently and to see him doing so well helps everyone, even the older guys like me and Grégory Havret and Grégory Bourdy. We want to follow the train too and hopefully we can win again soon.”