The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition)
Major invites not among Langasque’s top prizes
Champion looks forward to the Open, but not Masters or US Open
France’s Romain Langasque is looking forward to a drive of his hero’s brandnew Lamborghini, a party to be paid for his two millionaire mentors, and a place at the Open Championship at St Andrews.
The other sizeable baubles he gets for winning the Amateur Championship final 4 and 2 against Scotland’s Grant Forrest at Carnoustie, however, don’t appear to interest the 20-year-old from Nice that much.
“The Masters and the US Open next year? I don’t think so, I’ll need to talk to my coach and my family,” he said with a stereotypical Gallic shrug.
Turning down Augusta and Oakmont? Seriously?
But Langasque is already changing his carefully prepared career plan to play in the Open, because he thinks the chance to play his first major on the Old Course is too good to turn down. Staying amateur until the two American majors in 2016 doesn’t fit.
Which might have been galling to hear for the beaten finalist, who lost some of the form that had taken him to the final but rallied late on to force the game to the 34th hole.
For Langasque, who rattled round the Championship Course at an admirable pace with even more admirable aggression on his way to victory, simply the trophy and the praise coming his way from his two heroes, countrymen Victor Dubuisson and Alexander Levy, was enough for now.
He shares a coach with Dubuisson, who offered Romain the cost of a celebration party and a run behind the wheel of the newly-purchased Lambo by text on Friday if he won Saturday’s final.
“But,” added the Ryder Cup player, “if you don’t win you will turn pro in three weeks playing your best golf. If you do win, you can come with me to Augusta.”
European Tour winner Levy, who practices regularly with Langasque and the French national squad, was elbowing in on the cost of the party and expressing his pride in his young friend by text from Chambers Bay.
Romain’s original plan was to play in the European Amateur Team Championships – France, with four semi-finalists at Carnoustie, are short-priced favourites for that – and then turn pro.
“But the Open at St Andrews, that is a dream for me,” he said. “I have played the Old Course many times in the St Andrews Links Trophy but to play it in a major, that is just the ultimate.”
So he’ll add another week to his amateur career to play at St Andrews, but beyond that there will be some discussions with those closest to him. It sounded very much like he wasn’t for delaying the transition any further.
Langasque never trailed in the final, surging into the lead with a run of three successive birdies around the turn in the morning 18 as Forrest struggled to get going in perfect playing conditions.
The Frenchman’s one real wobble was when he could afford it, and rather fittingly it was on the 18th at the end of the first round.
Unlike countryman Jean van de Velde in 1999 Langasque didn’t get his feet wet but hit every other hazard on that fearsome final hole – two bunkers and the out of bounds fence – to allow the Scot to get back to three down at lunch.
Crucially Forrest couldn’t sustain that momentum into the afternoon, and lost four of the first five holes, all to pars, to go seven-down. As much as he strained to fight back, by the time he roused the crowd with a 60 foot eagle putt at 12, he was already running out of holes.
Langasque gave a glint of hope with more visits to the sand – three on the Spectacles, and then off the tee at the next hole – but his outstanding recovery from the trap on 15 effectively shut the door on Forrest.
The 22-year-old from Craigielaw was therefore denied a title which, added to his others in the last five years, would have amounted to the best amateur career by any Scot in recent times.
The Walker Cup at Lytham is now assured, and he’ll try to get back to the Open he played in at Muirfield in 2013 through final qualifying.
“But after that, I think I’ll have a look at European Tour School and Asian Tour School at the end of the year,” he said. “I might stay amateur, but we’ll decide that later in the year.”
I have played the Old Course many times in the St Andrews Links Trophy but to play it in a major, that is just the ultimate.”