Julien Guerrier (pic by Phil Inglis) ()
Julien Guerrier returns to Tecina Golf in La Gomera for this week’s Fred Olsen Challenge de España hoping to banish the memories of his play-off defeat two years ago, when he was beaten by Englishman Matthew Baldwin.
Having recently recovered from a back injury, Guerrier has regained some form on his return to the Challenge Tour, claiming a top five in his second start of the season in the Montecchia Golf Open presented by POLAROID three weeks ago.
The 27 year old now returns to the Canary Islands focusing on the positives from that final day in 2011, having carded a superb final round 65 to take it to extra holes.
“I have good memories of there but the finish wasn’t great for me,” said the Lyon man. “In the last two rounds I shot 66 and 65 so I came from way behind during the weekend. During the play-off I was in better positions every time.
“Matthew played better than me at the end of the day, so I cannot complain.
“I feel good now and I need to keep playing. It’s a really well-designed course at Tecina and not too hilly so it is more of a putting contest. You need to make a lot of birdies.”
Guerrier earned a European Tour card for the 2012 season but injury curtailed his progress, and now he is relishing the opportunity to regain his playing rights for the top tier for a third time.
“I had not played for five months because of my back, but now I'm feeling better. I played a French PGA tournament and did well and then I was tied fifth in Montecchia, so it’s been good.
“I don’t feel great just yet but I need more playing time. The concentration is sometimes difficult with my back.
“I have been working hard on my swing. I can turn now after impact so it is a new swing. I had those pains for three years but now I can play a little differently.
“I didn’t go to the Qualifying School last year because of the injury and now I have the challenge of trying to get back onto The European Tour via the Challenge Tour. I think my game is in good shape to get back up there so I'm looking forward to the season.”
Jordi Garcia Pinto, the only Spanish winner on the Challenge Tour so far this year, returns to home soil as the Barclays Kenya Open champion joins the strong field for the €160,000 event at the beautiful Tecina Golf.
He is joined by two other winners from the 2013 season, Gujarat Kensville Challenge champion Shiv Kapur and Montecchia Golf Open presented by POLAROID winner Brooks Koepka, whose first Challenge Tour victory came on Spanish soil at the 2012 Challenge de Catalunya.
Alvaro Velasco, the 2010 Challenge Tour Number One, also joins the strong Spanish contingent.