Langasque ready to start the Romain Empire at Royal Portrush
From 1907 Champion Golfer Arnaud Massy to 1999 nearly man Jean van de Velde, France has plenty of history with The Open and Romain Langasque will be the latest Gallic golfer to try and make a name for himself at the oldest major next year.
Langasque ensured he will be teeing it up at The Open for a second time – although a first as a professional – by finishing second at the South African Open in Johannesburg last weekend.
He ultimately trailed winner Louis Oosthuizen by six strokes but there were three spots up for grabs at the latest event in The Open Qualifying Series, thus the 23-year-old will end a four-year wait to return to The Open at Royal Portrush next summer.
Langasque first announced his golfing potential as a 20-year-old back in 2015 when he won the 120th Amateur Championship by beating Scotland’s Grant Forrest 4&2 in the 36-hole final at Carnoustie.
That earned him a place at St Andrews for his first Open the following month and the youngster certainly didn’t waste the opportunity – making the cut and finishing in a tie for 65th place.
And to prove that he really did belong in the same tournaments as golf’s elite, he repeated the trick at the 2016 Masters by shooting 31 over his final nine holes to tie the record for the lowest back-nine score by an amateur in Masters history.
A tie for 39th was his final position and the Frenchman turned professional shortly afterwards, quickly earning promotion from the Challenge Tour to the full European Tour.
If Langasque had made moving up the golfing ladder look easy to this point, he was brought back down to earth with a bump during his maiden season on the European Tour in 2017.
Things started well enough with a tie for tenth in the Australian PGA Championship but that would be his only top-ten finish of the campaign, as he finished 151st in the Race to Dubai and lost his tour card.
The genial Frenchman initially struggled to regain his form, even on the second-tier circuit, but a tie for fifth at the Kazakhstan Open back in September was followed by a maiden professional victory at the Hopps Open de Provence a week later.
Those efforts weren’t quite enough to earn a European Tour spot via the Challenge Tour Order of Merit but he fought his way through Q-School to jump back to the top table for the upcoming campaign, where he would make an ideal start.
In just his second event after regaining his card, Langasque compiled scores of 69, 68 and 69 at the South African Open to sit in a tie for 13th, on seven-under, heading into Sunday.
That’s when the youngster really found his form – shooting a closing five-under-par 66 to finish second behind Oosthuizen and book a place at Portrush – although he is still trying to wrap his head round his recent achievements.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “All week long I was focused on making it a good week and I didn’t think about a place at The Open.
“But I played really nicely on Sunday and the conditions were really tough, but I just stayed focused and now I’ve qualified. I’m really happy.
“I think Portrush will be a totally different course. It was good to play in St Andrews for my first Open because it's quite wide and I could play left if I couldn’t quite feel the shot.
“Portrush is not quite the same, the course is narrower but I think I’m ready to play these kind of events as a pro.
“I’m going to be patient and not put too much pressure on myself and do my best and enjoy myself over there.”
With a fluent swing and calm temperament, there’s no reason that Langasque can’t join his French predecessors and make a real mark at The Open next July.