23rd October 2015 | Alps Tour Golf
Four way tie in Israel
A group of 4 players shot -5 on great Caesarea Golf Course. France’s Jean-Pierre Verselin and Xavier Poncelet, Spain’s Eduardo Larranaga and Italy’s Leonardo Motta took lead after first round of inaugural Edmond de Rothschild Israel Masters.
It was a pretty hot and wet day on the banks of the Mediterranean sea. The golf course build in the early 60’s and redesigned by Pete Dye in 2006 keeps its promises, to be a very interesting challenge for the best Alps Tour players, the top 50 of the ranking.
The first of this young talent to shot the leading score was France’s Jean-Pierre Verselin, Alps tour winner in 2014.
“I really played well on pars 5. I shot -5 on them. I have been playing well for weeks now and I will try just to stick to my game plan. I did not manage to win the previous tournament because I was thinking too much about the result. So I really have to focus to stay in present.”
Another winner of last weason had a very good day, the Spaniard Larranaga. He admitted his friend and playing pro Jesus Legarrea helped him in a crucial part of his game.
“My putting was not very good but yesterday, Jesus Legarrea, my friend, gave me some tips and I had 25 putts. It is a very good golf course, probably the best of the year, long with small greens. You have to be smart and have a good strategy and I like that very much. It is good for my game because you have to hit the drive to take fairways. My game was in good shape when I arrive here but today, my putting was excellent.
Playing in an alliance format is new to me but it is good. It is more funny and more relaxing and my partner is a very nice guy.”
Even in case of a win, the third co-leader Poncelet won’t enter the top 5 to play Challenge Tour next season but his targets are bigger. The player from Bordeaux who already played on Challenge Tour, is aiming a great result in the European Tour Q School.
“The course is amazing, a true test of golf. I did not hit very my drive the past days so I decided not to use it. It was a bit long with my 3 wood. My goal is to be in the top 30. The course is prefect as well to work and prepare the Q School stage 2.”
The last leading player did not win any trophy on Alps Tour but his goal are very clear – I want to win – said the Italian player after his brilliant opening round.
“I am really happy about my game today. This course is marvellous. Obviously I find it nicer of how it is probably but no, it is definitely a great course. It gives you birdies if you play well, it is very competitive so it is very pleasant.
This event with not cut probably helps you to clear your mind. You are right, I had so many cuts missed on Challenge Tour by one or 2 shots. Your mind focuses on wrong things where there is a threat.
Reference to the format, I am not really a pro am player, I prefer to play by my own but I had the chance to play with a great amateur today, a nice guy, we were really relax on the course, it helps.”
Last but not least a battle is taking place inside the tournament. Dutch Darius Van Driel is the Alps Tour current leader and if he keeps this leadership on Sunday evening, he will use for the first time the exemption of Alps Tour winner not otherwise in the Stage 2 field. His closest competitor is England’s Josh Loughrey 3200 points behind.