European golf’s drive to innovate continues with a ground-breaking new tournament this summer which will see an equal split of female and male players compete for the same trophy and prize fund.
The Saint-Malo Golf Mixed Open, to be played at Saint-Malo Golf Resort in Brittany, France on July 4-7, will be the first professional tournament to draw together a field of 144 golfers comprising 72 male golfers from the Alps Tour and 72 female golfers from the Ladies European Tour Access Series. Members of the two Tours will tee off from different yardages, but will compete in a single competition.
The first two days of the new 72-hole individual strokeplay tournament will be played in alternate tee time format, followed by a 36-hole cut to the leading 45 players and ties from each Tour, which will then be paired in score order for the final two rounds, competing for the grand prize.
The LET Access Series is the official developmental circuit of the Ladies European Tour and the event builds on the success of recent innovations such as the Jordan Mixed Open, the European Mixed Golf Team Championships and Lalla Meryem Cup, which was the first tournament to bring male and female competitors together at the same location.
Di Barnard, LETAS Tour Director, said: “We are delighted to partner with the Alps Tour for the Saint-Malo Golf Mixed Open. Providing an opportunity for the players from both tours to compete against each other on the same golf course will be an exciting prospect. The course set up will be very much taken into consideration to make the competition balanced and a thrilling test for these talented competitors. We have seen over the last few months the interest in mixed events and with tough competition for sports sponsorship, this unique format delivers to the highest expectations. I would like to thank Mr Serge Raulic for his support and foresight in hosting this event at the beautiful Saint-Malo Golf Resort.”
Estelle Richard, Alps Tour Chief Executive and Operations Director, said: “We are excited for this new format for the fourth edition of the Saint-Malo Golf Mixed Open and the first time’s cooperation with the LET Access Series. After three years as an Alps Tour event, the tournament rises to a new challenge and becomes a unique opportunity for our players to compete with the ladies on the same course, with a special set up for the occasion to ensure the best show possible. We would like to thank Mr Serge Raulic, the Saint Malo Golf Resort and all the sponsors who agreed to accompany us in this new adventure.”
Serge Raulic, Saint Malo Golf Resort Owner and Chairman said, “We welcome with great pleasure this fourth edition of a tournament of the European professional Alps Tour and the originality of the event this year, with the participation of women players from LETAS, promises a magnificent sporting spectacle. There are few sports that allow this mixed confrontation in the same event and for the same ranking and I look forward to seeing the male power confront the finesse of the women’s game. The course will be superb and selective thanks to the work of our team and the atmosphere always so warm. Let the best win!”
The 2018 LET Access Series order of merit winner, Emma Nilsson, who will play in the tournament, said: “It will be very nice to play alongside the men in the same tournament and it looks like a beautiful place. I played in the European Mixed Team Championships at Gleneagles last year and it was a great experience. I think it’s good to try new formats. I will do my best to represent women’s golf well.”
Last year’s LET Access Series Rookie of the Year, Emie Peronnin, commented: “For the last few weeks we’ve had a couple of events where women have done incredible against the men. I mean Meghan MacLaren almost won in Jordan and Nuria Iturrios ended up with a better score in the Lalla Meryem Cup than the winner of the men’s Hassan II Golf Trophy, so I think it’s good to have a dual event where we can compare ourselves to the men and show that we play as well and we can also produce some spectacular golf as well. Also, I’m looking forward to playing against some male players. I know a lot of people on the Alps Tour, a lot of friends of mine actually play on the Alps Tour. Sometimes, I even play with them in friendly matches, so I’m looking forward to seeing who’s going to be in the field and to see if I can get a better score than them.”