Remesy victory highlights French golf renaissance
BY Bruce Young | European PGA Tour | 2005 Open de France | Wrap | 27 Jun 2005
There was plenty for French fans to get excited about on the final day of the Open de France with four Frenchmen very much in the hunt as the tournament entered its final round.
Jean Francois Remesy and Jean Van de Velde shared the lead with the 50-year-old Argentinean Eduardo Romero as play began but it would take only two holes to see Van de Velde and Remesy take control of the tournament with Romero falling quickly behind.
Also flying the tri-colours were Francois Delamontagne and Gregory Havret and so with a patriotic crowd urging them on, all four had their chances to win a golfer’s most important title outside of a major, that being his own national championship.
Last year Remesy won by a massive seven shots but there was not such a comfort zone this year. Van de Velde’s opening birdies on holes one and two saw him take the early lead and it was he who would control the outcome of the event for much of the day. When he reached four under for the day through fourteen, on a golf course that was giving up little, he had drawn clear again and with just three holes to play he stood on the 16th tee with a one shot lead over Remesy with a three shot break back to their nearest rival Soren Hansen.
At the 16th, Van de Velde, who had not been in contention in any European Tour event for nearly four years, missed the green left at the par three and hit a delightful pitch. He missed the par save but was given a reprieve by Remesy at the 17th hole when his countryman missed the green and failed to save par himself.
At the 18th, Van de Velde found the water with his tee shot and the resultant bogey saw them return to the 18th again for the playoff. Again Van de Velde found the water but this time it was with his approach and when Remesy made par it was all over. It was an emotional time for Van de Velde, who for so long has been out of contention in tournament golf. He can take heart from the fact that it was such a spectacular return.
So too can French golf as with such a strong showing here and five Frenchmen inside the top fifty on the European Tour Order of Merit, it is fair to suggest that French golf is perhaps the strongest it has ever been.
For Remesy this was his third win on the European Tour and in the last few years he has developed into one of the more regular contenders. He struggled for many years before eventually feeling comfortable with his place in golf and although 2005 had not been all that good to him until now, this is a great win for him.
Hansen was third, with Peter O’Malley, Richard Finch, Gregory Havret and Francois Delamontagne.
It was O’Malley’s best finish of the season in Europe and gets his season underway after a run of ordinary events. He won the New Zealand PGA but apart from that it has been a disappointing season to date. He chose a good event to come good however as it is one of the more lucrative of the regular tour events. O’Malley earned A$215,000.
The other Australians who made the cut were Wade Ormsby 21st, Brad Kennedy 50th, Jarrod Moseley 73rd, Terry Price 77th and Brett Rumford 81st.
The European Tour now heads to the K Club near Dublin for this week’s Smurfit European Open.