A Danish invasion, bikini-clad models and a Doaky double await you in our slice of the action from the D+D Real Czech Challenge Open as our press officer takes you behind the scenes...
The Danish invasion
It has been a cracking year for the Danes on the European Challenge Tour, made better by the announcement that they will have another home tournament to look forward to next week, and they were riding on the crest of a wave as they launched an assault on the leaderboard during the opening round of the D+D Real Czech Challenge Open.
Andreas Hartø was the flag-bearer as a number of players from the Nordic nation threatened the top of the leaderboard throughout the day – at one point all of the top four names on the leaderboard carried the red and white flag of Denmark.
Anders Schmidt Hansen was in a share of third after a six under par 66 while Rasmus Hjelm and Joachim B Hansen were a shot back on five under and Morten Orum Madsen was another shot back.
“I don’t know why there are so many Danes up there,” said Hartø. “I guess it just reminds us of home a little. We know how to play in the cold weather and I guess it suits our eye a little bit.”
Andres Schmidt Hansen, meanwhile, is not quite a member of the young generation of Danes emerging but admits that they do provide him with a huge boost of confidence.
“They are a really good group of players here at the moment,” he said. “I think next year Lucas Bjerregaard, who won the Nordic League, will play Challenge Tour and he is going to be a very good player.
“It’s a really good group, probably the best ever in Denmark. It’s inspiring to see all of these guys doing that well and I will try to do well and get after them.”
Glamourous Pro-Am dinner kicks week off in style
This week’s D+D Real Czech Challenge Open is a new tournament on the Challenge Tour schedule and so is a little bit of an unknown quantity but if the glamourous Pro-Am dinner is anything to go by, this is sure to be a terrific week.After a hugely successful Pro-Am, players and guests mingled in the clubhouse bar while a delicious buffet dinner was served up for those who played their hearts out out on the Kunetická Hora course earlier in the day.
A local band, JAM, kicked off proceedings with their acoustic vibe, mixing Czech hits with some international covers before a golfwear fashion show followed.That wasn’t the only fashion show of the night and certainly not the most popular one amongst the males in the room as a swimwear fashion show took place later in the evening, with local models strutting around the dinner room in bikinis.
Just prior to that was the prize giving as the winners and near-winners on the day were rewarded for their efforts, with the winning player (see below) receiving a cheque for €1,000 and a large bottle of the local alcoholic beverage, Becherovka, which he duly shared with fellow players and tournament staff.There was also a challenge set by a Czech diamond manufacturer, ALO diamonds, who asked guests how many diamonds were on a ring that was passed around with the right answer (660!) earning a lucky guest a diamond gift.
The party went into the early hours of the morning and a great night was had by all as the week got off to a perfect start.
Doak wins on the doubleChris Doak, it seems, cannot get enough of that winning feeling.
The Scotsman emerged victorious from last week’s ALLIANZ Open de Lyon after a tense play-off with Dutchman Tim Sluiter and he made it a double prior to the beginning of this week’s tournament, the D+D Real Czech Challenge Open.Doak was a member of the winning team in Wednesday’s Pro-Am, utilising his confidence to full effect as he claimed the winning prize of €1,000 and a bottle of the local tipple, Becherovka.
The prize-giving ceremony was certainly an entertaining one, as Chris Doak was aware his team had one but none of the rest of the team knew.
When the team was announced there were scenes of unbridled joy as they picked up their many prizes, including a golf bag each and some alcoholic beverages to help celebrate.Czech golf on the rise
There was an air of celebration around the Kunetická Hora Golf Club ahead of the tournament this week as the hard work of all the people involved in Czech golf begins to bear fruit on the big stage.Marek Novy has played a few Challenge Tour tournaments here and there as an invite but he has made history this year by becoming the first Czech player to earn a category for the European Challenge Tour and he will be playing full-time on the tour in 2013.
Novy played on the satellite EPD Tour this year and, despite not winning a tournament, earned a top five finish in the Rankings thanks to his consistency and the top five player from that tour gain a card for the following season’s Challenge Tour.There have been many success stories with players coming from the EPD Tour and rising to the very top of the game – Martin Kaymer is one notable example – and let’s hope Novy can follow in their footsteps.