By Will Pearson, europeantour.com
Marc Farry is hoping a return to his home country – and more specifically the stunning Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort in Provence – can kick-start his season at this week’s French Riviera Masters.
As well as his involvement as a player, the 54 year old Parisian has an additional role this week as Tournament Ambassador in liaising between the sponsors, promoters, officials and players as something of a host to the €400,000 event.
This is the second year in succession that the French Riviera Masters has been staged at the beautiful Terre Blanche resort in Tourettes, which was the third course to become a European Tour Destination in the European Tour Properties Network of world-class golf venues.
Farry won the inaugural staging of this event held in Cannes in 2010 in front of a delighted home crowd en route to a career-best finish of eighth in the Order of Merit that year and, after a more moderate showing thus far in 2013, hopes the return to familiar territory can inspire a return to form.
“I’m keeping my fingers crossed it will help because this season has been pretty poor by my standards,” said Farry, who currently sits 58th in the Order of Merit after only one top 20 finish this year.
“I was struggling with my long game and then when that got better I really struggled with my short game, so it’s been a funny old season.
“Fortunately, it looks like it is getting better. I played some good stuff in Russia, I’m feeling a little better and it’s always great to play in your own country in front of your friends and family.”
As well as the superb golf courses at Terre Blanche, which weave through the pine and oak-lined hills and valleys of Provence, Farry believes the mixture of luxury, technology and stunning amenities on offer will prove a treat for the Senior Tour membership.
“Terre Blanche is a really first class facility,” he continued. “There is a beautiful hotel on site, two championship 18-hole courses and a great practice area too which is brilliant in that it is usable in pretty much any conditions.
“If it rains, everything is covered, but if it’s beautiful like it is most of the time in this part of the world then you have a pitching area, chipping area, putting area and a fantastic driving range. Plus you have access to the help of a biomechanic in Jean-Jacques Rivet, who can film you and analyse everything in your swing.
“But it’s an excellent course, the forecast is excellent and I’m sure the guys that haven’t been here before are going to love everything about the week.”
Terre Blanche is one of two European Tour Destinations in use on The European Tour this week, with Golf and Country Club Fleesensee in Germany also hosting First Qualifying Stage Section B.
Englishman David J Russell will defend the title after putting on a golfing master-class to win the French Riviera Masters last year, beating American Tim Thelen in a three-hole sudden-death play-off after a brilliant seven under par 65 in the final round.
In what is another world-class field, former Ryder Cup captains Mark James, Sam Torrance and Ian Woosnam are in Provence this week along with the man pushing to top the Senior Tour Order of Merit, 2012 Rookie of the Year Paul Wesselingh, who bolstered his second place position with another top ten finish last week in Russia.