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  • Writer's pictureRonan Kleu

Summer Season 2020

I admit to have unfortunately neglected to keep this blog up to date this summer. From what looked like was going to be a drought season of tournaments, the second half of 2020 boasted a packed schedule, which included the most travelling I've done over a short-term period.

The international schedule started with two tournaments in Germany. The GTGA-Invitational in Berlin, which was originally not going to be a huge event, actually offered a strong international field. Struggling to get out of the gates fast, I stumbled in with a 77 on the first day and was far down on the leaderboard. Startled, since I had played well in the practice round, I was determined to still make the cut after 54 holes. Two solid rounds of 69 on the par-72 Berlin Stolperheide put me in that position to make the cut by one stroke. A final day 66 really gave me the confidence for the upcoming tournaments, as I had moved up from 120th to 19th in three days. The following week I competed in the SLR Academy Invitational on the "Rot" course of Sankt-Leon Rot. Another three solid rounds of golf of 72, 69, 72 in sunny conditions gave me the 11th place. It showed me that I was playing good golf but left me hungry for a breakthrough win. Both tournaments were organized very well, including a television livestream.

With that desire to win, I started the Swiss International Amateur Championships at my home club Golf and Country Club Zürich-Zumikon. With three consecutive rounds under par I found myself in the last group on the final day in contention. I had a great battle with Philipp Matlari of Germany coming down the stretch and managed to edge out my first international win of the season by one shot with scores of 68, 70, 69, 70. It was an unreal feeling being able to win on my home course and thank everyone for the support. What a week!

The next month represented what it's like to be a professional golfer in terms of travel. First I spent the weekend with the GCCZ team in Bern-Moossee and captured the Interclub A1 title. The next stop was Sherwood Forest Golf Club in Mansfield, England. Sherwood Forest really gave us the full British experience, as I played the first round in relatively windy and rainy conditions, the second round in hard rain for the full 18 holes, the third round in beautiful weather and the final round in winds on 70 km/h. As such, my scores also varied slightly as I shot 71, 67, 74, 71 as I actually played better in the tough conditions. I was the best Swiss player and shared 17th position after 4 rounds in a prestigious tournament.

A few days later the Amateur Championship started in the famous Royal Birkdale Golf Club. We were once again greeted by some very British weather, as the first qualification round had to be cancelled due to too strong winds and too much rain. This left us with only 18 holes of golf as qualification for the matchplays that ensued. Not hitting the ball as well as I would have liked to, I scrambled my way around a golf course, that doesn't allow for many errors, in 74 strokes and made the cut relatively comfortably. The next day I fought hard, putted well but finally lost to Hamish Brown in the first round of matchplays, as he finished birdie-birdie with a chip-in on the last. It was a great experience competing on such an iconic course and I learnt a lot during the "British-swing".

After a short rest at home, I then set off with the Swiss Team to the European Amateur Team Championships in Hilversum, Netherlands. The former European Tour course was tree-lined and quite different to what we had played the previous couple of weeks. I played very well in the stroke play round, finishing 5th individually with a score of 70. In the first round of matchplay, Switzerland faced the golf giant France. We showed our best golf and beat them 3-0, which included my win against David Ravetto, the number 31 in the world and the winner of the Brabazon Trophy 2020. The next day we played Germany, the eventual winners of the tournament. The were very solid and we lost but not without a fight, including myself to Matthias Schmid (world number 19 and shot 62 in the qualifying round). We never let our spirits get down though and then won the next day against Italy to win the bronze medal, with the foursome winning with a clutch birdie on the 19th hole. A remarkable performance by the team, since we were still in Division 2 last year and then won bronze in Division 1 the following year! I unfortunately caught a cold, gave my everything on the last day but was then bedridden for three days after the tournament. Nevertheless, it was another week to remember!

I now really look forward to the next big international event to take event at Zürich-Zumikon, namely the European Amateur Championships, before heading back to the USA for the remainder of the Fall semester.

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