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A slice of the Rolex action

Nick Dougherty (pic by ECCO Tour Championship) ()
Nick Dougherty (pic by ECCO Tour Championship) ()

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  • Nick Dougherty (pic by ECCO Tour Championship)

Our man on the ground at Golf Club de Genève takes you behind the scenes of the Rolex Trophy…

Baby boom

The Challenge Tour is pleased to announce the recent arrival of no fewer than three baby boys, with the respective partners of Carlos Aguilar, Nick Dougherty and Raymond Russell all having given birth within the past fortnight. Here’s hoping young Carlos Aguilar and Maximilian James Dougherty were quicker to come out than Leo Russell, who took a full 36 hours to show his face. Lucky there were no European Tour officials on hand with their stopwatches, or he might’ve incurred a penalty for slow play! Many congratulations guys and girls, we look forward to welcoming Carlos, Max and Leo onto the Tour real soon.

Picture postcard  

An elite field tournament demands a suitably eye-catching setting, and Golf Club de Genève certainly fits the bill in every respect. Located less than 5kms from the heart of Geneva, the historic club is a veritable ocean of tranquillity, with lush green fairways overlooked by the pristine white snow-capped Mont Blanc. Rising some 4,810 metres above sea level, Mont Blanc – affectionately known in these parts as La Dame Blanche, or the White Lady – is the highest mountain in Western Europe, and will again provide a spectacular backdrop to this week’s action, as the leading 40 players on the Challenge Tour bid to scale the heights of the Rankings.          

Party atmosphere

The cream of the Challenge Tour are slightly less celebrated than their European Tour counterparts, but the players this week are treated like bona fide rock stars, with a pumping soundtrack heralding their arrival at the official welcome party on Wednesday night. Each night is a different theme, with Mexican food on the opening night followed by traditional Swiss fare with the accompanying yodelling on Thursday, a Spanish tapas and music night on Friday and the closing gala dinner on Saturday. Throw a long drive competition into the mix, and there’s never a dull moment at the Rolex Trophy.

Stars come out for the Pro-Am 

As usual the tournament is played in a Pro-Am format, with each professional being partnered on the opening day by aspiring young juniors selected from 11 clubs dotted around Lake Geneva. Then from Thursday it is the turn of the club members and invited guests, which this year include Peter Dawson, the Chief Executive of the R&A, and Shane O’Donoghue, the CNN presenter. Dawson will be partnered by Raymond Russell, so let’s hope the Scot has been brushing up on his rules of golf in between changing nappies!    

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