Nino Bertasio, Darius Van Driel and of course Matt Wallace, the most successful former member of the Alps Tour (with over €6 millions career money won on the European Tour) are among the past winners of the Order of Merit, as well as Jason Palmer who progressed all the way to the bigger tour before a wrist injury ended his playing career, and has now been caddying on the European Tour for another former Alps Tour player, Chris Paisley.
Here they share their memories and wishes for the Tour where their careers started. Enjoy!
Class of 2013
“Playing on the Alps Tour was undoubtedly the most fun I ever had in my golfing career. What I enjoyed the most was the camaraderie between the players. I made more friends playing on the Alps Tour than at any other level of golf, and I think if you play in a friendly environment then that can only help to bring the best out of you, both as a person and as a player.
Being from England it was a big decision to try to establish myself on the Alps Tour instead of the Europro Tour. I believed that the travelling involved on the Alps Tour was more similar to life as a touring professional, where you need to fly to different places each week and are subjected to different types of courses and different grasses. It was one of the best decisions I ever made and my game progressed further as a result.
I will forever be grateful to the Alps Tour for giving me the platform to grow as a player. I was fortunate to gain some success and the confidence that brings is enormous. I would lean on those successes in future years and ultimately I progressed all the way to the European Tour before a wrist injury ended my playing career. The venues are superb and the strength of competition continues to improve year after year. You only need to look at the European Tour and it is littered with former Alps Tour players, which tells you all you need to know.
So thank you Alps Tour for some of the best and happiest memories of my life! May you continue to provide opportunities for some of the most talented players on the continent for years to come”.
Class of 2014
Nino BERTASIO (Italy)
“The Alps Tour – and more precisely the season of 2014 – represented for me my golfing comeback after a couple of difficult and complicated years on the courses.
I remember that the first four results I had at the start of the season guaranteed my goal of the season, that is the top 5 in the Order of Merit. If I don’t go wrong, I started in Europe with a 5th place in Austria, a 2nd at Colli Berici in Italy and two wins in a row, in Guadeloupe and Asiago in Italy.
Winning the Order of Merit was a bonus which gave me the confidence needed to face the Challenge tour the following year, and then the European Tour in 2016.
I remember we had a lot of fun during the whole season. We were a nice group of Italian players and we always tried to spend some time together, sharing apartments where we used to cook, grill and bbq, we played cards or any kind of sports during the free time. These are things that we don’t do on the bigger tours anymore”.
Class of 2015
Darius VAN DRIEL (The Netherlands)
“The Alps Tour has a special meaning to me. This is where I started my pro career and it’s where you need to fight for every euros: you’re not going to get rich but in order to progress to the next level you really need to play well.
I’ve learned a lot on the Alps Tour and it provided the base to where I stand today.
In that year, 2015, after a shaky start of the season with two missed cuts and three results with an average ranking, I had four top-10s and finished 2nd five times – in May, the Gosser Open in Austria and the Colli Berici in Italy, in September the Citadelle Trophy and the Haut-Poitou in France, the Alps de Extremadura in Spain and then, finally, I won the Open International de Marcilly: that was a big load off my shoulders! To finally win after so many second places”.
Since then, Darius has been a regular on the Challenge Tour and European Tour: he secured his first Challenge Tour title at the inaugural Euram Bank Open in Austria in 2018 and added to his trophy tally 13 months later at the Rolex Trophy in Switzerland, where he charged up the leaderboard with a final round of 64. He finished the 2019 season as 13th in the OoM and has gained the European Tour card.
Class of 2016
Matt WALLACE (England)
“I want to wish everybody the best of luck on the Alps Tour starting up again and celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2021. The Mini Tour is such an important part for professional golf – it certainly was for me!”, says Wallace in a video message he sent to the Alps Tour just before the start of the Spring Series in Acaya (Italy) last March.
Wallace, now 31, is undoubtedly the most successful “product” of the Alps Tour. He joined in 2013, when he was 22, having gained his playing category through the Qualifying School the previous year, and went on with two average years – ranked 41st in 2013 and 27th in 2014.
In 2015 he started improving (7th), before really exploding in 2016 with a record 6 wins: Dreamland Pyramids Open in Egypt, Tunisian Golf Open in Tunisia, Gosser Open in Austria, and Vigevano Open, Open Frassanelle and Grand Final by AXA in Italy.
“Congratulations to the Alps Tour for getting up and running in Europe. I know you’re starting in Italy so good luck to everyone playing. Matteo Manassero will be there, as well as Enrico Di Nitto, another good friend of mine. I wish everyone the best of luck and have a great season!”
The stories of the last four winners will follow in the next few weeks, stay tuned!