Our man on the ground in Brittany brings you all the gossip from the ALLIANZ Côtes d’Armor Bretagne...
The name’s Bond
As one of the Challenge Tour’s renowned jokers, it was with some trepidation that yours truly approached Welshman Liam Bond for a new Q&A which we will be rolling out on the website in conjunction with the Daly Mail in the coming weeks. But for once “Bondy” was reasonably restrained, even passing up on the opportunity to tell us a joke. Not so Tom Whitehouse, whose ribald gag had your correspondent blushing. Wash your mouth out young man!
In a spin
As well as on europeantour.com, this year followers of the Challenge Tour can also get their news on the Daily Mail’s website, with a section of the site dedicated to the Tour’s Members. This week, visitors to the site can get a sneak preview of the first ‘Big Challenge’ of the season, in which players get the chance to show off some unusual skills. Take it away boys: http://golfblog.dailymail.co.uk/
The wonder of Wade
The life of a professional golfer involves serious amounts of globetrotting, and Wade Ormsby has certainly been racking up the air miles recently. Wade, who divides his time between his native Adelaide and his Swedish wife Jenny’s native Helsingborg, is a full member of both the Challenge and Asian Tours this year which, as you might imagine, makes planning his schedule rather difficult. So far this season, Wade has teed up in the Philippines, Cambodia, India, Singapore and, most recently, Indonesia, where he finished in a tie for tenth place behind Lee Westwood. Shortly afterwards, he was off to Italy to compete in fellow Challenge Tour Member Emanuele Canonica’s Pro-Am – picking up a rather expensive watch just for pitching up – before heading on to northern France for this week’s event. It gives a whole new meaning to the term “living out of a suitcase”!
A picture postcard
There can be few more picturesque places to play golf than Golf Blue Green de Pléneuf Val André, where the course is perched precariously on cliff tops which afford some spectacular views of the Channel (or La Manche, as they call it in these parts). To accommodate the brand new clubhouse, which has been extended, the tenth tee has been moved even closer to the cliff face, meaning players are but a simple hook away from playing their second shot from the beach. As with most holes on the course, positioning – rather than brute strength – is the key, especially with thick rough lining most of the fairways. As ever, the elements will also play their part this week, with high winds expected to make life even tougher this week. Whatever the weather, any victory here has to be earned the hard way.
Brittany bonanza up for grabs
With most of the Challenge Tour’s big guns in action in Madeira, this week’s event in northern France gives some of the Tour’s “lesser lights” the chance to shine. Young guns and more experienced pros who have perhaps fallen on harder times have alighted in Brittany with the hope of taking home the first prize, and securing guaranteed starts in the remaining Challenge Tour events this season. The prize fund may be lower than in Madeira, but the stakes are just as high.
Henningsson shows his intelligent side
One of the more experienced players in action this week is Oskar Henningsson, winner of the 2009 Czech Open on The European Tour. The amiable Swede has experienced highs and lows in recent times, with victory followed by two testing seasons on the top tier. But after taking some time away from the game, he’s back in action with a point to prove, judging by his lengthy range session on Wednesday As with many golfers, Oskar practises with his headphones on – but unlike most players, this afternoon he was not listening to the latest offerings from the charts, but instead to a documentary on the medical world’s latest efforts to eradicate AIDS. Who said golfers were only interested in birdies and bogeys?