Walker has spring in his step for title defence

6/6/2011 1:25:45 PM
Sam Walker   (Getty Images)
Sam Walker (Getty Images)

Defending champion Sam Walker believes he will have an extra spring in his step when he returns to the Allianz Open Côtes d’Amor Bretagne this week, having played some of his best golf over Golf Bleu Green de Pléneuf Val André.

The Englishman revisits the scene of his triumph secure in the knowledge that he fired a seven under par 63 in the first round of last year’s tournament, while subsequent rounds of 70, 70 and 69 left him at eight under par, one stroke ahead of Victor Riu and Raymond Russell.

“It’s one of the better venues for the scenery with the views over the beach and the high tees, and it should be nice and warm next week,” said the 33 year old. “The course is good and suits my game, and I’m looking forward to going back there.

“I’ve been playing quite well, and it gives you an extra bonus when you go back to somewhere where you have done well in the past. Obviously you still have to go there and play well again, but it does help knowing that you’ve previously played the course very well and won on it.”

Walker’s 2011 campaign started promisingly with a third place finish at the Barclays Kenya Open, but since then he has missed two cuts – at the Allianz Challenge de France and the Mugello Tuscany Open – and finished 69th in the Madeira Islands Open.

Returning to Pléneuf Val André, though, could be just the solution to reigniting his season.

“I had a week off last week to rest and work on a few things,” he said. “So hopefully that will also work in my favour – being fresh and not tired from the last few weeks of competition.

“Winning at Val André last year was massive for me. I hadn’t won for a few years, and it was a huge thing because I did it without any sponsorship or funding; I had to do it all myself last season so to win was a massive relief.

“I gave myself a great chance of getting my European Tour card, but in the end I just missed out (he finished 28th in the Challenge Tour Rankings) as I didn’t play well enough in the middle of the season. That’s something I’m hoping to put right this year, and hopefully I can win again in Brittany but this time finish the job off by ending the season with a Tour card.”

Among the strong French contingent are Riu, Anthony Snobeck, who won the Mugello Tuscany Open last month, and François Delamontagne.