Di Barnard and Estelle Richard
Di Barnard and Estelle Richard, Tour Director and Chief Executive of the LET Access Series and Alps Tour respectively, have described the inaugural Saint-Malo Golf Mixed Open as a huge success which could be seen as a watershed moment for European golf.
History was made at Saint-Malo Golf Resort in Brittany, France, as the male and female players from the two tours competed side-by-side in the same field, for the same trophy and first prize money over four rounds of stroke play competition for the first time.
The unique composition of the final group for the last two days included LET Access Series winner Manon De Roey from Belgium and Frenchmen Frederic Lacroix and Maxime Radureau on Saturday. In the final group for Sunday’s decisive round, De Roey and Lacroix were joined by Italian Enrico Di Nitto. Lacroix triumphed by two strokes with a total of 22-under-par, with Di Nitto in second and De Roey in third.
That historic three-ball, combined with a spread of 14 female players and 47 male players making the cut to the leading 45 players and ties, was a testament to the course set-up, which was carefully considered by the directors of the two tours, underscoring how unique and inclusive golf can be as a sport.
While there had already been several mixed events on other tours, such as the European Mixed Team Championships at Gleneagles in 2018 on the Ladies European Tour and men’s European Tour respectively, the Saint-Malo Golf Mixed Open was the next significant step on the journey as the first ranking tournament to be fully sanctioned by two tours.
Estelle Richard commented: “Having organised the Saint-Malo Open for three years, together with Saint-Malo Golf Resort, we wanted to create a different kind of event and we were extremely delighted to invite the LET Access Series to co-sanction with us for the first time. The whole week was a fantastic success and we are looking forward to a continued collaboration for the next two years. All pros, men and ladies, enjoyed this new format and the ambiance was very special during the week. I'm sure they learned a lot from each other and will be pleased to play more tournaments like this in the future.”
Di Barnard said: “I would like to thank the Alps Tour and Saint-Malo Golf Resort for inviting us to play in this ground-breaking event. It’s been a great pleasure working with Estelle, her team and everyone at the venue. We share the same vision for the future of the event and look forward to continued success. In years to come, I believe we will look back on the first Saint-Malo Golf Mixed Open as an historical moment, as the players from both tours really embraced the competitive format and the unique atmosphere of the tournament. I believe that this kind of event underscores the fact that golf is a sport that you can play competitively with anybody, regardless of their age, gender or ability and it could play a role in bringing girls, boys and indeed whole families into the game.”
The reaction from players from both tours to the event was overwhelmingly positive and promising for next year’s event.
Manon De Roey summed up the week by saying: “I think it was great. It should happen more often in the future. As you saw this week, we were hitting the same shots into the greens and it wasn’t that much different between the guys. It was fun.”
Lacroix agreed: “It was great. A new format is always good for golf and it was good fun. If we had a few more of these tournaments on the Alps Tour that would be more fun.”