Held in the same week as the US Open Championship. The Saint-Omer Open presented by Neuflize OBC provides a great chance for a lesser light to shine on the European Tour.
It’s the 10th time the tournament has been run and a host of players will be hoping it’s a happy anniversary as they look to secure, or regain, playing privileges on the main circuit.
It’s a dual ranking event with prize money counting towards both the European Tour and Challenge Tour money lists. As such the event sees an interesting mix of entrants from both circuits. Experienced European Tour veterans like Peter Baker, Phillip Price and Jean Van de Velde will tee it up alongside successful Challenge Tour players including all eight of the men who have won Challenge Tour events this season: Gary Boyd, Francois Calmels, Christoph Günther, Lee S James, Edoardo Molinari, Alan Wagner and Robert Coles.
Coles is on great form in 2009 and is looking to win his third Challenge Tour event in just seven starts. The 36-year-old is well on his way to securing his European Tour card for 2010.
“I’ve got a lot more consistent and I’m mentally tougher now than I was.”
The home nation will be well represented in the tournament – Van de Velde will be backed up by former French Open winner Jean-Francois Remesy as well as Sebastian Delagrange and Francois Calmels who recently won the Telenet Trophy.
Venue: Aa Saint Omer GC, Lumbres, France
Course stats: par 71, 6,845 yards
Purse: €600,000, Winner: €100,000
Defending Champion: David Dixon (-5)
Gary Lockerbie – The Englishman finished in a tie for third at the Celtic Manor Wales Trophy. He’ll be looking to take that form into this event and will be amongst the favourites.
Robert Coles – Twice a winner on the Challenge Tour, the 36-year-old currently leads the money list and is fresh off the back of a victory in the Challenge of Ireland.
Edoardo Molinari – The Italian is second on the Challenge Tour rankings with three top-10 finishes in six starts. He should contend again 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.
Skills required: Grit. With the entire field desperate for victory to secure playing rights on the European Tour for 2010, competition in this event is intense. Maximum concentration and determination will be required for success.