Frenchman David Ravetto has revealed how only a frantic ferry dash on Friday kept alive his hopes of competing in this year’s Brabazon Trophy.
The Parisian made it look like plain sailing as he fired five birdies and an eagle in a round of 66 to share the lead on five-under par with Ireland’s Matthew McClean and England’s Joshua Bristow after the opening day’s play at the English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play (Brabazon Trophy).
However, the waters appeared a bit choppier last week when he had to re-think his UK travel plans at the last minute to avoid quarantine rules and make the trip across the Channel for the Brabazon and next week’s Amateur Championship at Royal Birkdale.
Mercifully, the 23-year-old docked in the nick of time and is now making the most of his opportunity to play in this week’s event at Sherwood Forest Golf Club in Nottinghamshire.
“It was quite a journey,” said the man rated 46 in the current WAGR rankings.
“I was supposed to fly on Sunday, but learned on Friday they changed the law. I took a ferry and landed at 2.30am – just before the law changed at 4am.
“That was good and I got to the course at six in the morning.”
Ravetto enjoyed the best of the early conditions on Tuesday with the morning drizzle not much of an impediment and the lack of wind a distinct bonus.
Birdies at the first, third, 12th, 13th and 16th holes and an eagle at the par five, eighth hole told the story of a man in form.
Bogeys at the fourth and 15th holes were shrugged off after the round as Ravetto declared himself satisfied with his day’s work.
“It was a pretty good round,” confirmed Ravetto.
“I had a good eagle on the eighth get to three-under and I played solidly. A couple of putts fell in the end and five under, yeah, a good round
“I had good expectations, I’m trying to win the tournament and prepare for the Amateur next week.”
Joining him on five under par was McCLean. The Irishman’s score was even more impressive after he went into the round blind.
“My ferry didn’t get in until Monday morning and by the time I got to the course it was 4pm,” added McCLean.
“I walked the back nine, but it didn’t do me any harm. I’m happy with my round and could’ve sneaked a couple more out of it.”
Canterbury’s Joshua Bristow (pictured above) also fired a five-under par round of 66 – having reached six-under early in his back nine.
Four birdies and an eagle catapulted him into the lead on his own, but with the home stretch tricky, a dropped shot at the 14th pegged him back.
“I’m happy with that round,” confirmed Bristow. “You’re always eyeing more birdies, but it’s a case of hanging on after making a score on the front nine. But I like the course and it suits my eye.”
There’s four players a shot further back at four-under par – and one of them, local lad Jordan Boulton, feels right at home.
Boulton is a member at Notts Golf Club (Hollinwell) just six miles from this week’s venue and admitted having home comforts around him has made life a lot easier.
“I got a new mattress the other week so it’s pretty comfy being at home!” said Boulton with a smile.
“I only live seven or eight minutes away. Not having to drive or find restaurants makes things easier. You can focus solely on playing the course.”
With nine nationalities represented in the field of 144 players, the Brabazon maintained its international flavour with golfers from Germany, Scotland, England, Denmark, Ireland, Switzerland and France all represented in the top ten.
On completion of Wednesday’s round, the top 60 players and ties will make the cut and progress to the final 36 holes of stroke play.
For details of the day one scores, tomorrow’s tee-times, videos, news stories and images from the course check out the championship homepage.