Romain Langasque returns to the Barclays Kenya Open hungry to regain his European Tour card after admitting he is ‘enjoying golf again’.
The 22 year old impressed on the Challenge Tour in 2016, finishing as runner-up in the season-opening Kenya Open – at Karen Country Club – as an amateur, before securing a further pair of second-placed finishes.
He gained entry to the European Tour in 2017 by finishing ninth in the Challenge Tour Rankings, but the highlight of Langasque’s season was undoubtedly his appearance at the Masters Tournament.
The Frenchman became the first active Challenge Tour player to compete at Augusta and finished tied 39th following four days which included a record-equalling back nine of 31 in the final round, the joint lowest-ever by an amateur in Masters’ history.
Langasque endured a tough rookie season on the European Tour last year, ending the campaign with only one top-ten finish and finishing 151st in the Race to Dubai.
But ahead of the Kenya Open at Muthaiga Golf Club this week, Langasque has a clear set of objectives in his mind for the upcoming season.
“I think last year was a big experience for me and I think I started well but then I put too much pressure on myself. I started to lose confidence,” Langasque said in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.
“I didn’t play bad golf because I think I missed around seven cuts by just one shot, so I was close all the time but there was just too much pressure on me.
“I did do some good work in the winter this year. I stopped playing golf to start enjoying golf again because I wasn’t enjoying it last year.
“I have some big objectives in my mind, but the objectives when I’m going to go on the course are going to be to stay focussed on every shot, just do my best and have the best attitude I can get on the course.
“I want to go back on Tour so I don’t really care where I finish in the Rankings – first or 15th – I don’t want to project myself too high but I want to win on the Challenge Tour, I want to put my name on it.
“When you go on Tour, then you go back on Challenge Tour, you can think this is bad because you’ve lost the card. But this is a great opportunity to put your name on something.”
The 2015 Amateur Champion has recently spent time in South Africa in preparation for the first event of the 2018 season, held at a course which Langasque feels is ‘playing longer’ than recent years.
“It’s a really good course,” he said. “The front nine and back nine are really different. Everybody says this course is shorter, but this year it’s really wet so it’s playing longer than the other years.
“I was in South Africa two weeks ago; I went over there to play because this is the same altitude.
“I have prepared myself really well for this tournament. I have worked a lot on my putting because it was a problem the last few weeks. I’m really confident for this week.”
Joining Langasque in East Africa is a quality field which features 14 European Tour winners, and ten Challenge Tour champions from 2018.
The 156-man field will fight it out for a prize fund of €500,000 – the highest on the Challenge Tour all season – in what is a landmark year for the tournament, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this week.