Wattel faces Toulouse examination

10/6/2010 4:00:14 PM
Romain Wattel  (Getty Images)
Romain Wattel (Getty Images)

French teenager Romain Wattel, ranked as the third best amateur in the world, will continue his golfing education in Toulouse this week looking to win for the second time in a month.

Exactly four weeks ago Wattel delighted the home crowd when he won the ALLIANZ Europen de Strasbourg-Golf de la Wantzenau to become the second amateur to win on the Challenge Tour this season.

And this week the 19 year old from Paris has an opportunity to repeat that feat when he tees up in the fourth ALLIANZ-sponsored event of the season – the ALLIANZ Golf Open du Grand Toulouse at Golf de Toulouse-Seilh, France.

Wattel is looking to leave the amateur ranks in a blaze of glory as he plans on turning professional after the Eisenhower Trophy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at the end of this month and indeed all three players who will represent France in the World Amateur Team Championship in South American will be in action this week in Toulouse.

“The win in Strasbourg was the biggest win of my career,” said Wattel. “It was huge for me as it secured a place on the Challenge Tour. I’m now planning on turning professional next month after the World Championship and getting through the Qualifying School and onto The European Tour.”

Currently ranked as the top French and European amateur and third in the World Amateur Rankings, with titles such as the Argentine Amateur, the Orange Bowl and the Scottish Amateur under his belt, Wattel looks to have a bright future ahead of him but is not getting carried away.

“I hope to win many tournaments but I need to just be focused on playing solid golf and that’s the goal this week. If I can do my job well I’ll get a good result but I need to concentrate on my routine.”

Wattel has flourished under the initiatives of the Federation Francais de Golf over the last three or four years. “Because of the efforts of the Federation I have been able to play a lot of tournaments not just in France, but all over Europe and beyond,” he said. “That has certainly helped me improve.”

He is also currently benefiting from having the experienced Rod Gutry caddying for him. Gutry, who was on the bag for two of Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano’s victories on The European Tour, linked up with Wattel at the ALSTOM Open de France this year on the advice of close friend Gregory Havret. They finished joint 32nd at Le Golf National to win the silver medal as the leading amateur.

“Rod brings a lot of experience and I feel comfortable with him on the bag,” said Wattel. “I’m not sure how many events we will be working together as he is also working for Francois Delamontagne but having him here this week will be a great help.”

Wattel will always occupy a place in the history books as only the fifth amateur to win on the Challenge Tour, just three weeks after Danish amateur Andreas Hartø won the ECCO Tour Championship.  He was also first French winner of the season and the first Frenchman to win on home soil since Alexandre Kaleka at the 2009 ALLIANZ EurOpen de Lyon.

This week he will be up against the Challenge Tour’s finest as they battle for a place within the top 20 of the Rankings required to secure a card for The European Tour. With only four events of the season remaining there is plenty at stake this week.