After a season of struggle, Floris de Vries is hopeful a return to the scene of one of his amateur triumphs will help spark a return to form this week.
De Vries made multiple trips to Toulouse during an illustrious amateur career which yielded six individual titles, including the French Boys Championship in 2006.
That victory came one year after he lost out to France’s Alexandre Kaleka in the same tournament, and de Vries has fond memories of his visits to Golf de Toulouse-Seilh, which this week hosts the ALLIANZ Golf Open de Toulouse Metropole for the seventh successive season.
The Dutchman recalled: “I must’ve played 30 rounds here, so I always enjoy coming back. The French Boys Championship was always at the start of the year, so I remember it being quite cold and windy when we used to play here. It used to be very difficult in the conditions, but because it was the first event of the season it was always good to catch up with people and find out what they’d been up to.
“Alex [Kaleka] was always one of the best French amateurs, so it’s no surprise that he’s started his pro career well. He played really well the year he beat me, but I managed to win the next year. It’s always nice to go back to a course you’ve won on before, even if it was a long time ago now!”
Having missed seven straight cuts in the middle of the season and with time running out to secure a return to The European Tour, in all probability De Vries would need to repeat his 2006 triumph in order to avoid a trip to the Qualifying School.
The 23 year old has slipped to 71st place in the Challenge Tour Rankings, but after arresting the slump with a tied 31st finish in last week’s Kazakhstan Open, De Vries is hoping to continue his comeback in south west France.
He said: “I need a big week, because I haven’t been playing well. I’m still feeling the rib injury I had last year, but it’s not the reason for my results. I just haven’t been playing well enough, so it’s been a frustrating time for me. I came into the season thinking that if I played to my abilities, I should have no problem finishing in the top ten of the Rankings.
“I got off to a slow start, then felt like my game was improving but it wasn’t showing in my scores. I was missing one cut after another, and it’s really affected my confidence. It’s the first time this has happened in my career, because up until now I’ve always improved and things have happened quite fast.
“I’ve obviously been questioning myself, and sometimes it’s easy to overanalyse. You start to worry about the future, and it’s easy for negative thoughts to start creeping in. But hopefully I’m over the worst of it now, and I can have a strong finish to the season. Even though it’s been a tough season, I’ve learned a lot and I’m sure it’ll make me enjoy the good times even more now.”