Céline Herbin will defend a title for the first time in her career when the 26th edition of the Lacoste Ladies Open de France takes place at Golf de Chantaco in Saint-Jean-de-Luz on October 6-9.
Herbin made the cut at the recent Evian Championship, where she finished in 69th place and will be one of 19 French players in the field trying to capture their national title.
Last year, Herbin came from five shots back with nine holes to play in the last round to force a play-off against Danish rookie Emily Kristine Pedersen, which Herbin then won on the third extra hole in front of a large and joyous home gallery.
Now the 33-year-old from Avranches wants to capture the Ladies European Tour title for the second straight year in the idyllic coastal setting, on the western edge of the Pyrenees and only a few kilometres from the Spanish border. “Chantaco is a nice place and I won there so I’m looking forward to defending my title. It’s a course I love,” she commented, before revealing how a steely determination was the key to winning 12 months ago.
“The secret was that I completely convinced myself that I was going to win, even if I was five shots back with nine holes to play on the last round. I still believed I was going to win, so let’s say it was mental strength. I have learned from all of my history and experiences and I have become tougher and tougher. I definitely think the mental part is very important so I work on it and I like to read about that. My routine, with respiration and self-hypnosis, which I do sometimes on the course, has helped.”
It’s the fifth straight year that the tournament will be played at Chantaco, following wins by the Australian Stacey Keating (2012) Azahara Muñoz of Spain (2013 and 2014) and Herbin (2015).
Designed by Harry Colt in 1928 for René Thion de la Chaume, the father of Simone de la Chaume, the club has a rich sporting history.
Simone de la Chaume, a successful amateur golfer, married the French tennis player René Lacoste and the club was frequented by a cast of the world’s most famous celebrities throughout the 1930s.
The success of the couple’s daughter, Catherine Lacoste, the British Ladies’ and US Women’s Amateur Champion who became the first European player to win the US Women’s Open as an amateur in 1967, brought further honour and prestige to the club.
For more than 80 years, Chantaco has offered a warm and friendly welcome to female golfers, including Lorena Ochoa, Cristie Kerr, Carlota Ciganda and Gwladys Nocera. The fantastic, family orientated atmosphere combined with spirited competition has fostered success which continues to this day, through the Lacoste Ladies Open de France, which is one of Europe’s oldest and most sought after titles.
The championship gets under way from Thursday next week.