Winner here in Egypt on May 29 …
Already guaranteed to evolve on the Challenge Tour in 2022 thanks to his two victories in 2021 on the Pro Golf Tour, Mathieu Decottignies-Lafon is at the start this Thursday of the Hopps Open de Provence. At 28, the Northerner, living near Lisbon, has great ambitions.
Par Lionel VELLA
On the calendar of Challenge Tour since 2018, the Hopps Open de Provence, canceled last year due to the global pandemic, returns stronger than ever this week to the Pont Royal International Golf drawn by the legend, Severiano Ballesteros.
This 2021 edition, that of the return to life, offers a very high level with 44 registered French players, including Julien Brun and Felix Mory, respectively 9th and 22nd of the Road to Mallorca and already winners this season in the second European division.
Victory in Egypt and Germany
Within this very rich committed French contingent, we also remember the presence of Mathieu Decottignies-Lafon. The Northerner has just completed a superb 2021 exercise on the Pro Golf Tour, one of the main Tours of the European Third Division. Two victories at the end of May in Egypt and at the beginning of August in Germany thus already ensure a right of play on the Challenge Tour in 2022.
« It’s cool to approach the Hopps Open de Provence without any category pressure or anything for 2022 since I have already validated my card, underlines the main interested party, who had not crossed the cut here at Mallemort (13) in 2018 nor in 2019. I was in England a fortnight ago (27e place finale) and I hope I can also play in Portugal next week thanks to an invitation. I’m also aiming for the Swiss Challenge (September 30-October 3). It would be great to be able to finish with four Challenge Tour tournaments and, fingers crossed, the possibility of playing the final in Mallorca. (November 4-7). “
I learned to use my body better, to use my mental faculties better. I have lost 13 pounds since December 2019.
At 28, Mathieu Decottignies-Lafon is at a crossroads. His many technical but also personal challenges are starting to bear fruit.
« At the end of 2019, there was a significant awareness, he admits calmly. Taking responsibility too… I also learned to use my body better, to make better use of my mental faculties. I have lost 13 kilos since December 2019. In September of last year, I made several changes in my coaching. I only surrounded myself with relatives, people I have known for a very long time. People you can trust. »
By staying in Biarritz, it did not allow me to have competitive courses all year round because of the climate.
We can for example quote Laurent Cabanne, his technical coach, but also Robin Cocq -« we played together as a team in Bondues – for the game, putting, strategy and practice plans. In the wake of this duo, let’s also evoke Mathieu David, a 15-year-old friend, life and performance coach, or Adrien Laurent, who caddeyé it a few years ago and which intervenes in particular on the mental part. On the physical level, he has been collaborating since December 2019 with Robert Froissart. « He made me change the vision I had of physical preparation, he comments. He gave me a taste for it. He taught me rigor at the highest level. With him, I really found my balance. »
Confident with this hard core, the Frenchman who caused a sensation in 2016 at the age of only 23 by finishing 16th in theOpen the France, also decided to leave Biarritz and “go into exile” in Portugal, at the golf course ofOtavois, a short distance west of Lisbon.
« By staying in Biarritz, it did not allow me to have competitive courses all year round because of the climate. Which is hardly the case in Otavois. The training qualities are top. I have an international airport 20 minutes from my home. And for the eight weeks in the year when the climate will be average, I could go to the Algarve where the weather is better and where the courses are crazy. There will also be two weeks without golf dedicated to physical preparation and there is one month left when I could go to train in Dubai or Florida… Instead of five months of very complicated time, we go to two weeks in quotes. I felt that my game was sclerosing in France and I wanted to face harsher courses and conditions more regularly… »
The United States from November?
Structured, blooming in the soft Lusitanian sun, galvanized by his recent excellent sports results, Mathieu Decottignies-Lafon is above all very ambitious. If a registration problem has closed the door in the middle of the year to appear at the Cartes du Korn Ferry Tour, the antechamber of the PGA Tour, he still does not rule out the idea of rubbing shoulders with the best in the United States.
« I am at a turning point in my professional life, he concludes. I’m very happy to have outdone myself on the Pro Golf Tour, the Tour of Hell as I call it. But now I aspire to something else. I want to keep moving forward. My dream is to go to the USA one day. Besides, I do not exclude the idea of going there this winter to take part in the Monday qualifying on the PGA Tour and also to compete in mini-tours. I don’t want to recover 4-5 months without playing in Europe. I am thinking about leaving in November. The example of Paul Barjon is also there to motivate us… It gives ideas. The US is where it happens. It’s party time, it screams, there is an atmosphere that speaks to me a lot. I want to confront it. »
©Pro Golf Tour Raimund Bulzcad