With Brooks Koepka and Peter Uihlein now mixing it with the best players in Europe, having started their season on the Challenge Tour, the latest young American looking to follow suit at the Open Blue Green Cotes d’Armor Bretagne is Daniel Im.
The 28 year old is playing his first full season on the Challenge Tour in 2013 thanks to a tie for 44th place in last year’s Qualifying School Final Stage at PGA Catalunya Resort, and Im comes to Golf Blue Green de Pléneuf Val André off the back of three top ten finishes so far this year.
A tie for fourth in India at the Gujarat Kensville Challenge was a fine way to start the year, and he followed that with a tie for fifth a few months later at the picturesque Challenge de España on the island of La Gomera.
However, his best finish so far was just four weeks ago at the Norwegian Challenge where he finished three strokes adrift of winner Jens Fahrbring in a tie for second alongside Pontus Widegren, a result which propelled Im up to 13th position in the Challenge Tour Rankings.
The top 15 at the end of the season will gain their European Tour card, and that means the American comes to north western France in a strong position, but he is reluctant to get too excited with so many important tournaments still to come.
“There are a lot of big tournaments left so I just need to keep playing the way I have been, especially as I am heading home after Kazakhstan, before coming back for China. That means I’ve got six events remaining, so I’m just looking forward to those.
“My game feels alright, but it feels OK every week, it just depends on how I’m putting. Last week I started well in Northern Ireland, I was in the top ten after two rounds, but I didn’t play too well on the weekend. It was pretty tough, and obviously the scores weren’t as low as they have been the last few tournaments.
“I’ve not played the course here in France yet, but I’m looking forward to getting out there this afternoon. The wind could be strong out there, but that’s fine, you’ve just got to play solid regardless.
“For me the goal is to just keep the Rankings out of my head, they don’t mean too much at this point, but at my current position I just need to keep playing well and I think I’ll be OK. That’s all I’m focussing on.”
Im will be joined in France by compatriot Brinson Paolini, who has settled into life on the Challenge Tour more quickly than most, picking up a maiden title at Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge in just his third start as a professional back in July.
There will also be plenty of home talent too, spearheaded by Rankings number three François Calmels, who will once again be on the lookout for a third title of the year that would earn him an automatic ascent to The European Tour. He will be joined by fellow Frenchman, Victor Riu, who is currently fifth in the Rankings thanks in part to a maiden professional title at the Swiss Challenge earlier in the summer.
Meanwhile Bad Griesbach Challenge Tour by Hartl Resort champion Andrea Pavan will also be fancied here, as will Korea’s Sihwan Kim, who has come so close to a maiden Challenge Tour title in the past couple of months.