Valentine Derrey believes the inaugural Saint-Malo Mixed Open is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the talent in women’s golf, as one of the LET Access Series members who will compete against the Alps Tour players this week.
The first ever mixed professional golf tournament in Europe tees off on Thursday at Saint-Malo Golf Resort in Brittany and the players will tackle the Hubert Chesneau-designed course from two sets of tees, depending on the tour they compete on.
Chesneau also designed the 2018 Ryder Cup course, Golf National and Saint Malo Golf Resort offers a similar 27 holes in a pleasant setting, its fairways unwinding between lakes, granite boulders, mature trees and leading to small greens surrounded by plenty of bunkering.
The “Surcouf”: an 18-hole course, has hosted the Saint Malo Golf Open on the Alps Tour for three years from 2016-2018, but this year, the venue decided to bring female golfers for the first time.
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.
“It’s my first time in Saint-Malo and I’ve never played here before. I like the region and I think it’s fun to play with the guys,” said Derrey, who missed out on playing in the Jordan Mixed Open earlier this year, which featured players from the Ladies European Tour, Challenge Tour and over 50s Staysure Tour. However, she has experience of playing in a national mixed event.
“The French Federation used to organise an event with the guys in April: the Grand Prix Schweppes, at Golf du Médoc in Bordeaux, where we now play the Lacoste Ladies Open de France.
“Of course it would be nice to win. I’m not sure the guys would like it, but I would be proud of myself if I do it.
“I’m playing well this year. I’ve been playing better since March, so I’m going to try to keep this momentum and try to play my best this week and see what happens. I’m not putting pressure on myself. I just want to enjoy the week and see how I finish.”
The Parisienne, who is a member at St Cloud, won twice on the 2017 LET Access Series, at the Terre Blanche Ladies Open and the Forget Foundation PGA Championship and hopes to make it a hat-trick this week, but her ultimate ambition is to win again on the LET following her victory five years ago in the 2014 Turkish Airlines Ladies Open.