Teen wins French Amateur in another victory for Gallic youth policy
   Jeong-weon Ko with the Coupe Murat


Jeong-weon Ko with the Coupe Murat

Naas ace Conor O'Rourke finished a respectable tied 33rd in tiger tough conditions in the French Amateur Open Strokeplay - the Internationaux de France for the Cooupe Murat - at chic Chantilly.

Rounds of 75, 75, 78 and 74 for 302 the Ireland Development Panel player  18 shots out of a playoff that saw 17-year Jeong-weon Ko, a Frenchman of Korean descent, beat compatriot François Lagraulet on the first extra hole after they had finished on 284

Despite perfect conditions, a tough course set up made scoring highly difficult with tight pins, testing putting conditions combining with bottomless rough to give the field a thorough workout.

Waterford's Eanna Griffin was 41st on 309 and both he and O'Rourke will be worth watching in the East of Irekand at Baltray this weekend.

Both paid their own way to Paris, as did Alexabder Wilson, who missed the cut.

tbe 17 year old winner, on the other hand, has vast international experience despite starting the year ranked alongside Kevin LeBlanc, close to 4,000th in World Amateur Rankings.

While LeBlanc had to dip into his own pocket to play in Spain and Italy, the French golf federation sent Wang Ko to play in South Africa against top international teams, inducing Ireland's senior players.

They also sent him and several other French Boys to the Lytham Trophy.  

While the French federation has deeper pockets that its Irish .counterpart, it's far more adventurous when it comes to giving young players experience. LeBlanc, 17, was third in the Irish Amateur while Co Louth's Thomas Mulligan, just 16, finished in the top 10.

A huge French co tangent will be in Tuam for the Irish Boys Championship next month. Given their experience, don't bet against a blue. white and red tricolour flying high over Galway that week.