The European Challenge Tour visits France for the Hopps Open de Provence at Golf International de Pont Royal. Here’s everything you need to know…
Englishman Alfie Plant secured a maiden Challenge Tour title in dramatic fashion at last season’s Hopps Open de Provence. The 30-year-old came from six shots back on the final day to reach the top of the leaderboard alongside Austrian Lukas Nemecz and German Marcel Schneider, before coming out on top in a three-man play-off and he is hoping to defend his title this week.
Plant went on to win his second title at the Blot Open de Bretagne earlier this season and he is now targeting a hat-trick of wins in France.
Golf International de Pont Royal is a golfing paradise with a David Leadbetter Golf Academy, which incorporates three chipping greens, a practice green, a practice bunker and a two-tier driving range.
Away from the course, golfers and guests can choose to stay in the fantastic apartments and residential villas available or the five-star Moulin de Vernegues Hotel & Spa, which is located next to the second hole and offers a fine dining restaurant, a fabulous I’Occitane spa and a large outdoor swimming pool.
Seve’s magic touch
Golf International de Pont Royal is the only course in France designed by the great Severiano Ballesteros. The Spanish legend created his masterpiece in 1992 and it has become one of the most highly regarded golf courses in the south of France. The 18-hole course has wide undulating fairways and lightning quick greens which pose a challenge for the highest calibre of golfer. The highland holes offer fantastic views over the Alpilles, the Luberon, the Durance Valley, and the Massif of the Trevaresse.
The course, which hosted an Alps Tour event for ten years after first opening, requires players to shape the ball in both directions and use their imagination, something Ballesteros was renowned for. Holes between the 15th and 18th present their own unique challenges to provide Golf International de Pont Royal with its very own ‘Amen Corner’ as they can quickly tarnish a scorecard. The 18th hole provides a dramatic finale as players must navigate their tee shots over a large hill before the fairway falls left down to a contoured green surrounded by a water hazard.