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  • Writer's pictureRonan Kleu

Huge announcement

As of today, I am a professional golfer. I cannot wait to start this new chapter of my life, as it has been something I have been dedicatedly working towards for nearly a decade now of amateur golf. I would like to thank everyone involved in my amateur career, including SwissGolf, Golf and Country Club Zürich, Columbus State University, University of Iowa and numerous other people for all the support. Most of all, my parents for their unwavering support and guidance. It’s only the beginning…

These last three weeks included traveling to the two annual events hosted by the European Golf Association, the European Individual Championship and the European Amateur Team Championship. Estonia was first on the list, a region of Europe I had never been to! Although slightly fatigued by the nearly 200 holes played the week prior at the Amateur championship, I travelled to Estonia with a clear goal: 8 points or more on WAGR, which would have meant a win in the Open Qualifying Series and a spot in the 2023 Open at Royal Liverpool. The course had a links style to it, however, didn’t quite play like one with the areas around the green not being mowed down adequately. It was relatively short and allowed for plenty of birdie opportunities with 5 par-5s and some drivable par 4s. Preparation was good, and I fired an opening round six-under 66. Scoring was low that day, with four players shooting 62! The next day was when some chaos started – my teetime was 15:36 and thunderstorms rolled in around 14:30. Play was suspended for a considerable length of time before we finally teed off at 19:36! We played the first 12 holes of my second round before play was suspended due to darkness at 22:30 (!). I was -2 until that point before having to wake up at 5am to head out again to finish off my second round and then wait until 16:15 for my third round. That day, my body felt very out of sync with the lack of sleep, the constant stop-starting and the fatigue from two long weeks. I hung in there, comfortably in the cutline at -9 until the fatigue caught up to me on my 5th last hole of the day, on which I carded an unfortunate quadruple bogey. Disappointed about not having achieved my goal for the week, I accepted that there can be a bunch of unpredictable events that one can’t prepare for, and I started looking ahead towards the European Amateur Team Championship in Belgium.

Following two much needed days off in the mountains, six Swiss players (Nicola Gerhardsen, Patrick Foley, Max Schliesing, Max Sturdza, Loic Naas and myself) travelled to Royal Waterloo just outside of Brussels to compete for the European Team title. We had a house for the week and overall the team vibe was awesome. It’s such a special week on the amateur calendar each year since you play in such a unique format with two stroke play rounds that precede the match play stages. The top 8 teams from the stroke play rounds play for positions 1-8 in Flight A, whereas 9-16 play for position. Both rounds I went out first for Switzerland to take advantage of the good greens and put a good score on the board first out. Both rounds I played the first nine holes well, well above the tournament average, however holes 17 and 18 gave me some trouble. They were both par 5s which I played +2 over two days whereas the field probably averaged -2. I signed for a 70 and 73. There were mixed scores from my teammates and we had to settle for a very unfortunate 9th place in stroke play. The next task was to win against Croatia to avoid relegation. We beat them with certainty 5-0. We were less successful against Wales the next day losing 3-2, yet we capped of the tournament with 3-2 win over Estonia on the final day. I personally won my match 2-up, finishing my amateur career with two decisive birdies. I can positively look back at my amateur time with a lot of joy.

I now make my professional debut this upcoming week 20-23 July at the Big Green Egg German Challenge on the Challenge Tour.

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