With the European Tour’s top golfers in Pennsylvania for the US Open, the circuit’s lesser-lights have a chance to shine in the Najeti Hotels et Golfs Open presented by Neuflize OBC at Aa St Omer Golf Club.
This is a dual ranking event between the European and Challenge Tours. As such, it’s a good opportunity for European Tour regulars to bolster their Race to Dubai totals, and a chance for those on the lower circuit to make a step up.
The tournament has attracted some high profile entrants, none more so than England’s Simon Dyson. The six-time European Tour winner is hoping to use the event to re-find his form. By his own admission he has struggled so far this year and has, so far, failed to record a top-20 finish.
“I haven’t been playing great golf lately, but I feel I am now,” he said. “I’m playing some really nice golf at the minute and not really getting any reward. A week could turn it around, and that’s why I’m going. It doesn’t matter where the tournament is or how much money it’s for, I just want to keep playing. It’s not a million miles from home, so it’s the perfect chance to get another week of bedding in. I did alright there last time I was there in 2004.”
Situated inland in Northern France, just outside Lumbres, the Val Course at the Aa Saint-Omer Golf Club is set over attractive, rolling terrain. The layout, designed by 15-time Dutch amateur champion Johan Frederik Van Heel Dudok is lush and green and maintained in excellent condition throughout the warmer months.
In last year’s event at St Omer, Darren Fichardt took the title with some ease. The South African could afford a final round of 73 and still finished three clear of England’s Gary Lockerbie.
Venue: Aa St Omer GC, St Omer, France
Date: Jun 13-16
Course stats: par 71, 6,799 yards
Purse: €500,000 Winner: €83,330
Defending Champion: Darren Fichardt (-5)
Simon Dyson – The Englishman is the stand-out name on the start sheet. Although he hasn’t recorded great results in 2013, he could outclass this field if he plays to his full potential.
Dawie Van Der Walt – He’s had a pretty strange year on the European Tour. He’s made just one cut, but when he did he managed to win the event – the Tshwane Open. If he can make the cut this week, who knows!
Rhys Davies – Another man, like Simon Dyson, who is battling to return to his best form. He’s had a few promising results in 2013 and will be looking to take advantage of the opportunity to re-establish his position on the European Tour this week.
Key hole: 17th. At 191 yards it requires a precise iron shot particularly when the pin is at the back of the green. This hole will need to be negotiated with a steady nerve by the leaders on Sunday afternoon.