A slice of the action from Geneva

8/22/2013 12:00:00 AM
Jacques Laffite (pic by Rolex) ()
Jacques Laffite (pic by Rolex) ()

Our man on the ground at Golf Club de Genève takes you behind the scenes of the Rolex Trophy…

The driving force

 Pace of play and straight driving wouldn’t have been a problem on Thursday for game 10, which featured the combined might of former Formula 1 driver Jacques Laffite and two of the men who combined to win this year’s Le Mans 24 Hour race, Tom Kristensen and Loic Duval. Lafitte competed in Formula 1 from 1974-1986, recording six grand prix victories for the Ligier team before retiring after breaking both his legs in an accident during the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch. He is now a TV commentator on French television. Kristensen’s achievements are even more impressive, as he is the only person in history to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans nine times – six of which were consecutive (from 2000–2005). Duval was part of the Audi team which won the prestigious event earlier this year.

A Challenge Tour institution

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this week, the Rolex Trophy is a Challenge Tour institution and as such has become one of the most popular tournaments with the players, who are always afforded the warmest of welcomes. The Pro-Am format makes for a convivial atmosphere, whilst the lavish evening functions ensure the week is as much about pleasure as it is business. But make no mistake, with a cool €26,000 on offer to the winner, the 42 players gathered in Geneva have their eyes fixed firmly on the prize. Leading contenders to take home the lion’s share of the €228,000 prize fund include José-Filipe Lima, currently second in the Rankings after a superbly consistent campaign, and Benjamin Hebert who, despite an indifferent campaign, knows what it takes to win this tournament, having triumphed in 2011.        

A golfer’s paradise

Since its inception in 1989, the Rolex Trophy has been played at Golf Club de Genève, situated a stone’s throw from Lake Geneva and the city centre. With the course measuring in at 6,727 yards, low scoring is invariably the order of the day – last year’s winning score was 27 under par. But what it lacks in length the course more than makes up for in scenery, with the snow-capped Mont Blanc – Europe’s highest mountain – providing a suitably breath-taking backdrop to the on-course action. With the weather again set fair for the tournament, there can’t be too many better places to be this week…      

The kids are alright

For the first round of the tournament, the pros will be paired with 42 juniors drawn from 12 clubs in and around the Geneva locale. The head pro from each club nominates the juniors, who must all be born in or after 1995. Local hopes will rest chiefly on the young shoulders of Arthur Turrettini and Caroline Sturdza, a talented duo who will represent Golf Club de Genève. From Thursday the juniors will make way for their senior counterparts, who will accompany the pros for the final three rounds of the tournament, with a prize awarded to the winning team at the gala dinner on Saturday night. So there’s much more than just pride to play for…