VIDEO. Golf: Victor Perez, the Tarbais adopted by Scotland, passes the cut of “the Mecca of golf”

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The Tarbais and French number 1, Victor Perez, passed the cut of the British Open, Saturday, in Saint-Andrews in Scotland. A journey he knows well, he, the expatriate in the north of the United Kingdom.

With a friend in the bag, roots in Scotland and newfound confidence, Victor Perez solidly passed the cut of the British Open on Friday on the course of Saint Andrews which he knows well since he won there and comes there as a neighbor. . “Today, it was the traditional wind we have here, with wind against the left on the return which is a wind in which I could see the blows”, explains Friday the Tarbais who will celebrate his 30th birthday on September 2.

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After a slump of a few months, he is coming back strong: with a total of -4 on Friday (-3 for the 2nd round alone), he is 9 shots behind the leader but makes sure to pass the cut, which he had not done since his 22nd place at the PGA Championship 2020. This time, for this prestigious 150th edition of The Open, it happened. What’s more, among an ultra-high plateau when he only obtained his right of entry after his victory at the Dutch Open at the end of May.

“In drive and putting, he is among the best in the world”, underlines one of Perez’s predecessors in place of French N.1, Thomas Levet. His weakness is the approaches, the little game. But Saint Andrews, he knows it. He won one of his two titles on the European Tour there, during the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in 2019. Except that, he points out, the Dunhill is played in autumn and that the same course of the Old Course in summer, “It’s day and night”.

Trust

“Hole 18 which is 350 yards, I hit a 2 iron, didn’t ask for a very good hit, and she went up on it (the green). Well… she came down, but that’s just judgment, you have to trust yourself, tell yourself my ball will go the distance”, explains the 107th in the world after his first round completed in one shot under par.

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Precisely, despite the changing conditions of this course which he knows all the better as he now lives in Dundee, about twenty kilometers from the cradle of golf, Perez feels confident. So, even the fact that this time the course is labeled British Open, with one of the most prized sports trophies, the Claret Jug, does not seem to reach it.

“It doesn’t change anything in particular, he says. The flags and the ball don’t necessarily feel like it’s The Open”. However, he savors the “atmosphere” which makes “it’s great to be there”, in “the Mecca of golf”.

The caddy and the key

In addition, this year, the public came in droves. And for Perez, who played his first seven Majors in the era of pandemic measures, “having the public after covid is nice.” “Especially here where it’s an audience who knows, who knows how to appreciate if a shot is good or less good and who is grateful when he sees a quality shot”, he underlines.

Another of the keys to his newfound confidence is the relationship that has developed with his new caddy, a former friend from the American University of New Mexico, James Erkenbek. His previous, JP Fitzgerald with whom he had won the Dunhill, had been dismissed in August 2021, after the cut failures in the four Majors. “It’s been a year and we have found our marks,” says Perez about Erkenbek with whom he signed the success of the revival in the Netherlands.

“There is always a time of adaptation and we really manage to find our language. He knew me as a friend but not as a player and it is not as such. The victory in Amsterdam confirmed the job is done and it bodes well for the future”, underlines the player. And Friday brought further proof: “James did a great job, telling me after a bumpy ride that the worst thing that could happen to me was not to play this weekend and that it was not ‘ is not the end of the world. It allowed me to relax,” said the player. The tandem at the key of the Old Course? “If anyone has it, I would love to know it,” Perez retorts.

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