“I came back a week ago. Back to reality and training. » Make no mistake about this sentence which smacks of a return to a sad and harassing daily life. The reality that designates Antoine Pouguet is definitely more beautiful than a few weeks.
Anyone who has been a professional for a year, and who trains in Vaudreuil Golf PGA France withinAltus Performancemanaged to make it to the final round of European maps (the PQ3), which ended a week ago. For this, he had successfully passed a first test (the PQ1) at the beginning of October in Hardelotin the Pas-de-Calais, then a second (the PQ2) in Huelva, in Spain, at the beginning of November. In summary, a very nice course. “There was only positive to look for, and that’s what I did”he camped.
Success in a card test is something he has already experienced last year, to insert the Professional Golf Tour (PGT) during his professional career. But during this first season in the third continental division, he came up against some new things in professional life. “It’s a season where I had to adapt a lot, and which was quite long, he observes. I was not used to traveling so much and so regularly. So I offered a lot of fatigue and contingencies, canceled flights and things like that. »
Another usual pitfall: apart from his comrade from Altus Performance Clement Guichard, also a resident of the PGT, few familiar faces come to him. Even if he ends up forming new friendships, for example with Clement Heurtin. In terms of golf itself, on courses that were all unknown to him, Antoine Pouguet took the final 56th place in the Order of Merit, insufficient both to enter the Challenge Tourbut also to put his card on the PGT in danger.
The start, he knew anyway that he would be given another chance in the European Cards campaign. With his coaches Stanislas Gautier and Guillaume Biaugeaudand his mental trainer Jean-Francois Houdayerhe focused his work on this appointment. “It’s a type of event in which I always manage to do well, because I’m a fairly consistent player, he notes. When I play badly, I never play very very high. »
In Hardelot, the two days of reconnaissance gave him reduced sensations. But from the first round of competition, the good dynamic is set in motion. “I had a click, with a really very present game of irons”, he explains. With a qualification in 11th position at -8, Antoine Pouguet thus make pay for the strategy put in place with his staff: do not get carried away, make as many pars as possible, and above all avoid disaster holes. “I didn’t make a single double bogey over the four laps”he illustrates.
Big scare at PQ2
Having a well-developed strategy will again help him during PQ2, but with a big dose of mental toughness added. In the nails at the start of the 72nd hole, he lost his ball on the left on the face-off of the par 5 of the 18th. By sticking a wedge shot to the stake, he managed to birdie with his second ball, and thus save a good bogey. “When I arrived at the recording, I was told that I was probably going to be in a playoff at -16he narrates. I mentally prepared for it. I was in the first games of the morning, but as it went up, and finally it went without a playoff. With my caddy, we were moved, but we had to switch directly to the PQ3s, so everything went very quickly. »
Indeed, with the final stage of the maps starting only five days later in Tarragona, everything had to be organized in a very short time. Corn Antoine Pouguet had the advantage for him of playing without pressure, his campaign having already been a success. He barely took to savoring the moment when he arrived at theInfinity. “The quality of the course, the facilities, hitting Pro-V1s at the driving range… It changed a lot compared to my habits, he smiled. The first day of recce, I had a little trouble getting into it, because I was watching a lot of what was happening around me. From the second recon, I was really focused on my game. And on what I had to do. »
Between 5 and 15 tournaments on the Challenge Tour
Less strong during the third and fourth rounds, after a promising start, the Vaudreuil player finally had to settle for 114th place, at +2. Too far to cross the cut of this six-lap marathon event. But the good news is elsewhere: by his only participation in the PQ3, he received category 15 on the Challenge Tour.
Certainly not a full category, but which gives him the prospect of playing the three French stages of the second division, and in total between 5 and 15 tournaments. He will know more about his 2023 season, which should be split between Challenge Tour and Pro Golf Tour, when the various calendars are published. In the meantime, and after a little well-deserved rest, it will be, whatever happens, back to work withinAltus Performance. “It’s great to have a structure like this so early in your golf career, underlines the one who has been part of it for three years. The mentality is the collective spirit, and a very good atmosphere. We are not against each other, we all pull each other up. »