Calmels is searching for a third Challenge Tour victory of 2013 which would seal automatic promotion to The European Tour, while Parisian Riu is just one hour from home as he seeks a second title, having sealed his maiden win at the Swiss Challenge two weeks ago.They spearhead a very strong home challenge at the Le Vaudreuil venue, which features a beautiful 17th Century clubhouse.
Edouard Dubois’ rise on the Challenge Tour came in a very similar fashion as he claimed two victories in quick succession – coincidentally, his first also coming at the Kärnten Golf Open – in 2011 before graduating to The European Tour.The 24 year old has returned to the Challenge Tour this year after failing to retain his card on the top tier, and he will be hoping to feed off the home crowds this week, having not missed a cut in his last seven appearances.
Julien Guerrier, meanwhile, will be the local favourite as he is attached to the venue, and the Lyon man has had a good spell this year with two top five finishes and a couple of top 20s – including one at last week’s Mugello Tuscany Open – leaving him in 38th place on the Challenge Tour Rankings.These French stars join a strong field of international players, including former Ryder Cup player Oliver Wilson and a host of past European Tour winners including Markus Brier, Rhys Davies, Alastair Forsyth, French-born Portuguese José-Filipe Lima and Daniel Vancsik.
Meanwhile, Englishman Steven Tiley returns to the Challenge Tour after his impressive exploits in last week’s Open Championship at Muirfield, where he finished in a tie for 26th.Players will contest a €180,000 purse this week – a rise of €20,000 from the intended prize fund when first announced – thanks to increased support from the French Golf Federation, which has long been a strong partner of the Challenge Tour.
The 2013 schedule features three events in France – the €500,000 dual-ranking Najeti Hotels et Golfs Open presented by Neuflize OBC and the Open Côtes d'Armor Bretagne being the others – and the prize fund increase comes as part of the strategy of the French Golf Federation for young professionals, and as part of their programme for The 2018 Ryder Cup, which will take place at Le Golf National in Paris.
Golf PGA France du Vaudreuil has become one of the country’s most prestigious courses since 2008, when entrepreneur Jean-Claude Forestier breathed new life into an 18 hole lay-out which was first established in 1962.It has previously hosted the French Junior Championship and a high-profile Pro-Am event which included many of France’s top professionals.