The finals without much suspense, it is said, leave little mark on history. However, how not to qualify the fifth national title won by Saint Cloud history, 60 years after the last? Admittedly, the gap seemed large, this Sunday at royal bridgebetween Saint-Cloud and Biarritz. But the bottles of water emptied on the skulls, the liberating jumps in the pond of 18, the laughter, the songs and the sips testified to one thing: the wait had been long. Really very long.
The advantage right from the foursomes
During the two morning foursomes, Saint Cloud showed up with exactly the same pairs as the previous two days. A different choice from that of Biarrots, who aligned Joseph Linel and Alaric Mercié de Soultrait in the leading foursome, instead of Nathan Trey and Hugo Riboud. But from the start of the game, the Basques found themselves in difficulty: a bogey on the 1, with loss of the hole, a ball in the penalty area on the right on the face-off of the four, with identical consequence, and a ball in the bunker to the left of the green at 5, to pass 3 downs facing Maxence Mugnier and Julien Sale. The latter, with a very nice putt, countered the first biarrot birdie at 6.
Things got really complicated from the 9th for Biarritz, with a face-off out of bounds by Alaric Mercié de Soultrait. Four holes behind, the Basques were never going to catch up. A last birdie from Saint-Cloud at 14 allowed them to win, 5&4.
Julien Sale brought the decisive point to Saint-Cloud, during the singles. (Alexis Orloff / ffgolf)
In the second game, Paul Piedelievre and Martin Perrigot seemed a little taken by the pressure of the event at the start of the game. So much so that Faustin Labadie-Destenaves and Rodolphe Cicala quickly took a two-hole lead. But there again, a putt for birdie at 6, very similar to that of Julien Sale and returned by Martin Perrigot, reversed the dynamic. From the end of the first leg, the match was square again. At 12, he passed 1 up for Saint-Cloud for the first time. Finally, on the 17th, a three-putt from Biarrots ended the morning session, with a score of 2-0.
Dirty made clean
Saint-Cloud only needed two points to become champion of France, and a first was decided very quickly. In the leading game, Philippe Schmohl conceded a bogey on the 1st, before losing a ball on the face-off on the 4th, then losing the 7th on a very solid putt for birdie returned by Maxence Mugnier. On the next hole, the Basque’s face-off ended out of bounds on the left, giving the almost definitive indication that the advantage was going to be for Saint-Cloud in this match. Without a big mistake, Maxence Mugnier won, 6&5.
Back to the wall, Biarritz relied on Hugo Riboudopposed to a Julien Sale just as accurately and solidly as in the morning. But here again, Saint-Cloud made a good start to the match, before gradually gaining the upper hand: a hole won at 7 (1 up), a birdie from Sale at 8 (2 up), a bogey from Riboud at 11 (3 up), a ball in the water at 13 (4 up), and to close the deal, a last birdie at 14. Admittedly, the final ended in the middle of the afternoon. But after 60 years of absence, not many of the 150 or so people gathered at the Saint-Cloud clubhouse to watch the final felt that it was a little early.
The words of the winners
” It’s great, reacts Julien Sale. I am really very happy for the team, for the club, thank you to all the supporters of the club who have come over the past two days. I didn’t have too much stress this morning, I took it as for the European championship, I did my job. With Maxence, we played very well, we made very few mistakes. We knew that it was not done, that Biarritz had a good team, that we had to stay focused in the afternoon. We had the idea of winning all the matches, never giving up. »
“We’ve been fighting hard for 5 or 6 years, emphasizes the captain Thomas Sirot. It was progressive. This year, we arrived with a competitive and fairly experienced team. At lunchtime, we made the players understand that we were very far from having won, we had already experienced it. We had to keep hitting our shots without restraint. We played without strategy, we put our best players in the first matches. It’s nice to have had so much support. This is a tournament that is so close to our hearts. »
The Saint-Cloud players have shown that they know how to celebrate victory with dignity. (Alexis Orloff / ffgolf)