4th November 2019 | Alps Tour Golf
The Victors of the Alps Tour Order of Merit 2019
After a closely fought Grand Final in Italy on the Terre dei Consoli and Golf Nazionale courses, the top five Alps Tour players on the Order of Merit 2019 earned a place on the Challenge Tour for the 2020 season.
In first place was the Italian player, Edoardo Lipparelli. A rookie on the tour, he played 15 of the 17 tournaments this season, achieving 8 top ten tournaments finishes including winning the Open de Saint Francois Region Guadeloupe in June. Consistency of play would maybe be the keyword to his game with only two tournament finishes over par and a stroke average of 68.87.
His compatriot, the rookie Enrico di Nitto came in second on the OofM. The highlight of his season was winning the Nazionale Open in July. This coupled with 9 top ten finishes over 15 tournaments and a stroke average of 69.24 underlines his determination on the tour.
Frédéric Lacroix from France holds a well-deserved third place after winning three tournaments in his rookie year; the Ein Bay Open in February that opened the 2019 season, the Alps de Las Castillas in May and the Saint-Malo Golf Mixed Open in July. This third victory after 13 tournaments gave Frédéric a place on the Challenge Tour for the remaining 2019 season. His sixth-place finish at the Grand Final and extremely focussed play throughout the season allows him to continue on the Challenge Tour in 2020.
Federico Maccario’s win last week at the Grand Final on his home turf of Italy, secured him fourth place on the OofM. Disappointed by having been a strong contender but having finally lost some of the 17 tournaments he competed in this season, his patience and commitment paid off with an incredibly solid game to give him his rookie victory.
The only non-rookie in the top five, the Austrian player, Timon Baltl’s perseverance finally paid off in this, his third season on the Alps Tour.He savoured his first tournament win on home turf at the Gosser Open in May of this year which contributed to his season-end ticket to the Challenge Tour.
Five rising stars in the world of golf who now move on to the next chapter in their professional careers. A career started on the Alps Tour which has proven to be a successful springboard for launching aspiring, young golfers on the professional European circuit.
Just this weekend at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, Victor Perez came in joint fourth. This follows on from his victory at the prestigious Dunhill Links Championship in September of this year. The French player made his début on the Alps Tour in 2016 where his OofM third place saw him move on to the Challenge Tour in 2017 and at the end of 2018, earn a place on the European Tour.
Another recent notable former Alps Tour player is Matt Wallace from England who after winning six tournaments on the Alps Tour and the OofM in 2016, moved on to the Challenge Tour in 2017. His performance including winning the Open de Portugal, a dual-ranking event with the main tour, gave him promotion to the European Tour. His 2018 season saw him win three events; the Hero Indian Open, the BMW International Open and Made in Denmark. With a share of fifth at the Nedbank Golf Challenge and tying for second at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship he moved into the top 50 of the OWGR. 2019 has seen him continue to progress with a notable joint third at the PGA Championship Major. He is currently 28th on the OWGR and 6th in the Race to Dubai.
Winner of the Portugal Open in October 2019, the English player, Steven Brown, started out on the Alps Tour in 2012, went on to win the OoM in 2014 and moved to the Challenge Tour where he played until 2017. He had a successful season with seven top-ten finishes to finish 12th on the OoM and earn a place on the European Tour for 2018 which he finished at 97th on the OoM. A disappointing start to the 2019 season has been compensated by his recent victory plus an 11th place at the Amundi Open de France.
Two more French players also continue to make their mark. Antoine Rozner gained notoriety in 2019 when he won two back-to-back Challenge Tour events at the start of the season; the Challenge de España and the Prague Golf Challenge the very next week. He started on the Alps Tour in 2017 before his third place on the OofM saw him move on to the Challenge Tour in 2018 . Robin Roussel was on the Alps Tour for the same season as his compatriot where he finished fifth on the OofM. He has had six top 10 finishes this season on the Challenge Tour including victory at the Hauts de France – Pas de Calais Golf Open. They are currently fourth and fifth on the OoM with a European Tour card beckoning.
Other former Alps Tour players can be cited but let’s leave the last word to Frédéric Lacroix, one of this year’s top five OoM when recently interviewed and asked what he thought of the Alps Tour: “It’s underrated. It looks easy from the outside but in the end it’s not. There are good players and you have to play solid to get on top.”
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7th July 2019 | Alps Tour Golf
Focused Frédéric Lacroix Wins the Saint Malo Mixed Open
St. Malo (France), July 7, 2019 – After a nail-bitingly, closely fought, final round, Frédéric Lacroix emerged victorious at the Saint Malo Mixed Open and claimed the 7,200€ first prize.
Stepping up on the first tee at the Saint Malo Golf Resort on the final day of the ground-breaking Saint Malo Mixed Open, just one stroke separated Alps Tour player, Frédéric Lacroix from France (-17) and Manon De Roey, the Belgian LET Access Series player (-16). Joining them on the tee-box was Alps Tour player, Enrico Di Nitto (-13).
The first two holes saw all three players giving tit-for-tat with par and birdie for each of them. The next four holes were a veritable ping-pong match between the Belgian and the Frenchman with the Italian putting pressure on both.
Lacroix and Di Nitto both carded pars on the third but De Roey sank a birdie to draw even with the leader at -18. But the Frenchman’s riposte was immediate on the par 3 fourth with another birdie to pull ahead again at -19. De Nitto was right up there with him as he also birdied the hole to move to -15.
But the Belgian came right back on the par 4 fifth with her third birdie of the day to put her neck and neck again with Lacroix at -19.
The par 3 sixth saw a minor blip on De Roey’s card as she scored her first bogey of the day and slipped back to -18 whilst Lacroix made par to stay steady at -19. De Nitto continued to steadily duplicate Lacroix’s score with a par to maintain -15.
The next two holes saw Lacroix shift gears with two birdies in a row to put him at -21. De Nitto followed suit moving to -17 whilst De Roey’s two pars kept her at -18.
At the end of the front nine Lacroix and Di Nitto had identical scores at -4 (32). Frédéric Lacroix:
“The front nine wasn’t easy because Enrico had a good start too. He was always there and when I made birdie he made birdie.”
The leader board at the start of the back nine showed Lacroix at -21, De Roey at -18, Di Nitto at -17 and everything still to play for.
Par for all three players on the first two holes then on the par 4 twelfth, Di Nitto took another birdie, his fifth of the day, to put him even with De Roey at -18.
Steady pars for all three until the par 5 fifteenth when Lacroix made a birdie to move to -22 and Di Nitto did another copycat score moving him to even with De Roey at -18.
Barring catastrophe, Lacroix looked set to for first place and the battle was on for second position heading into the signature hole 16. Par for the men but an unfortunate bogey for Manon De Roey moved her back to -17.
Three pars across the board on the seventeenth and down the eighteenth heading into the clubhouse.
Lacroix’s tee shot went a little left giving him an unfavourable lie, so he chose to lay up and not risk the water hazard in front of the green. Di Nitto’s drive went straight down the fairway putting him on the green for two as did De Roey’s second shot.
Obviously, the fat lady was now singing but Enrico Di Nitto had not had his last word as he finished the round with a seventh birdie for a total of -20. Manon De Roey continued to show her formidable fighting spirit by also birdying the hole for a final -18.
Both players were more than happy with their performances. Enrico Di Nitto:
“I feel really happy about it. I made no bogeys today and I finished the weekend strongly with a 20 under, so that was great. But Frédéric was really strong too today.”
Manon de Roey:
“I’m quite happy with the week and how it went. Today wasn’t as good as the last few days but I’m happy I finished in the top three. Today I didn’t make enough birdies and Frederic played really well and solid.”
Indeed, nothing could stop Frédéric Lacroix with his -22 for the tournament thanks to his approach to the game. Frédéric Lacroix:
“I just didn’t make any mistakes. That’s the key on this course, I think. Overall there are guys who made more birdies than I did but I kept it steady and made good saves when I needed to.”
With his third Alps Tour victory of the season, Frédéric Lacroix now moves directly to the Challenge Tour.
A fantastic climax to the inaugural Saint Malo Mixed Open witnessing a mixed podium from the Alps Tour and the LETAS. The reaction from players from both tours to this ground-breaking format has been overwhelmingly positive and promising for next year’s event.
Next stop for the Alps Tour is the Fred Olsen Alps de La Gomera in the Canary Islands from 11th to 13th July.
6th July 2019 | Alps Tour Golf
Frédéric Lacroix grabs leader board first place
St. Malo (France), July 6, 2019 – Play opened at Saint-Malo Golf Resort with Frédéric Lacroix trailing the previous day’s leader, Manon De Roey, by just one stroke. At the end of the day, the roles had been reversed with Lacroix scoring a -7 (65) for the day for an overall -17 for the tournament so far.
The first three holes saw the two players neck and neck and then Lacroix narrowed the gap to one stroke with a birdie on the fourth.
Hole six was the game changer when Frédéric Lacroix scored a birdie to put him at -14 and Manon de Roey carded a double bogey leaving her at -13 under. The front nine saw the Frenchman finish at -6 to the Belgian’s -1.
The back nine saw Lacroix continue to demonstrate the consistency of the past 3 days with 8 pars and 1 birdie. Frédéric Lacroix:
“Seven under, it’s a good round even though it could have been a bit lower on the back nine. I struggled a bit with the wind when it picked up and missed a couple of easy shots”.
He may have struggled a little with the gusting wind, but his short game came to the rescue on more than one occasion. Frédéric Lacroix:
“It was pretty solid today. As soon as I got in trouble, I could rely on my chipping to get out of that tricky situation. So, it was great”.
Manon de Roey who finished at -16 continued to play steadily and was not at all discouraged by her double bogey on the sixth and remains extremely positive about her chances. Manon de Roey:
“I’m still happy with my round. It wasn’t as good as the last two days, but I still finished with a minus three. I’m just one shot behind and I still think I can win.”
Considering her playing partner’s performance today, her game plan is clear.Manon de Roey:
“Frédéric went out really strong today. I’m just one shot behind and I think I need a low one tomorrow but I’ve done it before, over the last two days, so I think I can make another low one tomorrow and see if I can win.”
In third place, the Italian, Enrico Di Nitto came in with an excellent –6 (66) for the day and an overall -13 for the three days. The 26-year-old player has had 6 top ten places on the Alps Tour this season but his last victory dates back to the 2015 Open Colli Berici.
Close behind the leaders at -11 are a group of 5 players. The French player Teremoana Beaucousin, the English player James Sharp, the Irishman Jonathan Yates, the Dutch player Davey Porsius and the Swiss player Arthur Ameil-Planchin.
The next-placed players after the number two are all in the top 20 with Rachael Goodall from England at -8, Laura Murray from Scotland and Maria Palacios from Spain at -7..
The final day promises to be a closely contended competition.
Tee-off starts at 8:40 tomorrow morning with the last flight departing at 11:45.
5th July 2019 | Alps Tour Golf
Manon De Roey storms ahead on Day 2
St. Malo (France), July 5, 2019 – Under another cloudless sky at the Saint Malo Mixed Open and with the Brittany sun beating down, Manon de Roey played a fantastic round today carding a -8 (64) for the day to give her a 3-point lead at -13 for 36 holes.
With a total of 8 birdies on her card including all four of the par fives, Manon de Roey explains:
“The conditions were perfect. There was not much wind this morning and it was still a little bit wet, but it was perfect. Today was very steady and I didn’t make any bogeys. I took advantage of the par fives again and birdied them all. I made a couple of long putts as well”.
Heading into the weekend, when asked what she hopes for over the next rounds and a potential win, Manon de Roey:
“The last two days were solid, so I just have to continue what I’m doing. It would mean a lot to win a tournament in general and this one is special because it is with the guys. There are two more days to go”.
At -10, second place is shared between the French players Frédéric Lacroix, one of yesterday’s joint leaders and Maxime Radureau who moves up one slot from third place the previous day.
Having birdied 6 of the holes today and despite bogeys on the par 3 fourth and the par 5 fifteenth giving Frédéric Lacroix a -4 (68) for the day, he remained optimistic:
“I felt pretty good about today and just had a couple of bogeys on the card. Conditions were maybe a little bit harder because of the wind and the course drying out a bit. I will try to win, obviously, but I don’t know how it’s going to go. It doesn’t matter if it’s a guy or a girl in front: I will try to catch her, or him and I will do my best to do that.”
Maxime Radureau also came off the course satisfied:
“I’m very happy. I’m second for the time being. That’s cool. I’ll have to go into the weekend pretty hard.”
Having started with 3 birdies on the first three holes for a total of 5 birdies and an eagle on his card, he put the two bogeys down to an error of judgement in his wedge shots.
In third place at -9 sits a group of four players. The French player Teremoana Beaucousin who carded a 67 (-5) whilst James Sharp of England, Rafa Echenique of Argentina and Pierre Pineau of France all carded 66 (-6).
Yesterday’s joint leader Clemens Gaster from Austria is at -8 alongside his compatriot Timon Baltl, Frenchman Julien Foret, Irishman Jonathan Yates and Belgian player Kevin Hesbois.
There are another 4 LETAS players in the top 20 on the leader board all sitting at –5 for the two rounds; Rachael Goodall and Cloe Frankish from England, Laura Murray from Scotland and Emilie Piquot from France.
The cut was made at -2 leaving a total of 51 players for the final rounds with 49 professional players and 2 amateurs. The breakdown between men and women is 36 Alps Tour professionals and 1 amateur and 13 LETAS professionals and 1 amateur.
Tee-off starts at 9:26 tomorrow morning with parties of mixed three balls.
2nd July 2019 | Alps Tour Golf
Countdown to a Golfing First at the Saint Malo Mixed Open
As the Saint Malo Mixed Open gears up to host this ground-breaking event in European golf, the field breaks down to 72 players from the Alps Tour and 51 players from the Ladies European Access Series (LETAS). All of them will be competing for the 45,000€ prize money and trophy.
The Alps Tour players will be out in force with seventeen of the top twenty on the Alps Tour Order of Merit participating. Amongst them, the number one placed Italian Edoardo Lipparelli who will be looking to consolidate his June win at the Open de Saint Francois Region Guadeloupe.
He is accompanied by number three on the OofM, Frédéric LaCroix, winner of the Ein Bay Open and Alps de la Castillas this year. The Frenchman will be looking to snatch that perfect hat-trick on home-ground here in France.
Timon Baltl is sure to continue to show his fighting spirit after winning this year’s Gosser Open, the second place after playoff at the Acaya Open and being joint third at the Open de Mirabelle d’Or. His compatriot Lukas Nemecz, victor at the Dreamland Pyramids Open in March completes the Austrian winners contingent.
The Italian player, Luca Cianchetti, winner of the Katameya Dunes Open 2019 and the Englishman, Benjamin Wheeler, winner of the Red Sea Little Venice Open 2019 will both be fighting for a double. Whilst 2018 winner of the Alps de la Castillas, Thomas Elissalde would surely like to add a 2019 win to his prize list.
They will have to keep in mind though that the first, official mixed gender competition in Jordan in April of this year ended in a back nine battle between a female player and a male player. And the LETAS ladies will be there to prove their skills with five of the top twenty OofM players teeing off.
France’s Emma Grechi arrives fresh from her first LETAS victory at the Belfius Ladies Open whilst Greta Voelker at number four on the LETAS OofM is one to keep an eye on as she continues to improve in her rookie year as a professional. Whilst the French player Agathe Sauzon, the Finn, Sanna Nuutinen, and the Belgian, Manon de Roey, are all top ten finishers this season.
The official tournament tees off on Thursday 4th July with the final on Sunday 7th July but Wednesday 3rd July sees the start of the event with the Pro-Am followed by a golf clinic demonstration by the Cévaër Green Academy at 5:30pm.
Pascal Grizot, Vice President of the French Golf Federation and President of the Ryder Cup 2018 is the patron of this event and will be present to support this unique development in European golf taking place in France.
28th May 2019 | Alps Tour Golf
The Saint-Malo Golf Mixed Open – A game-changing event in European golf to unfurl in France
The 4th edition of the Saint Malo Open heralds a new era in professional golf by hosting a mixed field of 72 male players from the Alps Tour and 72 female players from the Ladies European Tour Access Series. The playing field has been truly levelled with all the players competing for not only the same trophy but also the same 45,000€ prize money.
This first in European professional golf, the Saint Malo Golf Mixed Open, will take place from July 4th to 7th 2019 at the Hubert Chesneau designed Saint-Malo Golf Resort in Le Tronchet, Brittany, France.
Thursday and Friday will see men and women players teeing off alternately in flights of three in individual stroke-play format for the first 36 holes. After which, the cut will leave the top 45 players and ties from the entire field for the final 36 holes on Saturday and Sunday. Players tee times for the last two rounds will be based on score results.
To create the fairest possible playing field for all the competitors, the course set-up takes into consideration the carry yardages off the tee and stroke distances of the different categories of players as well as the course architecture regarding the positioning of bunkers and hazards. The length of the course will be approximately 13% longer for the men than for the women.
The Saint Malo Golf Mixed Open follows on from the first, official mixed gender professional golf tournament, the Jordan Mixed Open held in April 2019 which witnessed an unprecedented back-nine battle for the first prize between a male and female golfer.
The Alps Tour is a developmental third-tier professional European golf tour for men to get a better experience of professional tournaments to play the Challenge Tour and the European Tour whilst the LET Access Series is the official developmental circuit of the Ladies European Tour.
Estelle Richard, Alps Tour Chief Executive and Operations Director, said: “We are excited by this new format for the 4th edition of the Saint-Malo Golf Open and the first-time cooperation with the LET Access Series. After three years as an Alps Tour event, the tournament rises to a new challenge and becomes a unique opportunity for our players to compete with the Ladies on the same course with a special set up for the occasion to ensure the best show possible. We would like to thank Mr Serge Raulic, the Saint Malo Golf Resort and all the sponsors who agreed to accompany us in this new adventure.”
Di Barnard, LETAS Tour Director, said: “We are delighted to partner with the Alps Tour for the Saint-Malo Golf Mixed Open. Providing an opportunity for the players from both tours to compete against each other on the same golf course will be an exciting prospect. The course set up will be very much taken into consideration to make the competition balanced and a thrilling test for these talented competitors. We have seen over the last few months the interest in mixed events and with tough competition for sports sponsorship, this unique format delivers to the highest expectations. I would like to thank Mr Serge Raulic for his support and foresight in hosting this event at the beautiful Saint-Malo Golf Resort.”
Serge Raulic, Saint Malo Golf Resort Owner & Chairman, said: “We welcome with great pleasure this 4th edition of a tournament of the European professional Alps Tour and the originality of the event this year, with the participation of women players of the circuit LETAS, promises a magnificent sporting spectacle! There are few sports that allow this mixed confrontation in the same event and for the same ranking and I look forward to seeing the male power confront the finesse of the women’s game … The course will be superb and selective thanks to the work of our team and the atmosphere always so warm. Let the best wins!”