Sports

Golf fortunes change quickly for Antoine Rozner

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — For a sport identified for its glacial tempo, fortunes can change quickly in golf.

Antoine Rozner is the most recent instance.

Two weeks in the past, Rozner was No. 99 on the earth and tied for the lead within the Qatar Masters when the 28-year-old from Paris stood over a 60-foot birdie putt on the ultimate gap, pondering solely of getting the velocity proper.

“It was a very tough putt,” he mentioned Tuesday. “When you’re a kid, you practice like, ‘This is the putt to win.’ But you don’t practice a 60-footer. It’s usually a 20-footer. It was like in a dream.”

This one went in. The victory was his second in his final six begins on the European Tour, and it moved Rozner to No. 63 on the earth. That was the cutoff for the highest 64 gamers to get within the Dell Technologies Match Play.

One minute he’s in Qatar, the following he’s in Texas for his World Golf Championship debut, taking part in a follow spherical with British Open champion Shane Lowry and getting ready for his opening match towards U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau.

“I was just trying to win a tournament,” Rozner mentioned. “It’s a bonus to be here. It’s exciting, a good reward.”

The most up-to-date World Golf Championship, which moved from Mexico City to Florida this year due to the pandemic, invitations prime gamers from the primary six excursions all over the world. It’s common to get a number of gamers who aren’t precisely family names.

The Match Play is the deepest subject, and Rozner earned his spot even earlier than 5 gamers withdrew due to harm (Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka and Justin Rose) or scheduling (Adam Scott) or COVID-19 (Gary Woodland).

His final time competing on this format was practically 5 years in the past within the Palmer Cup, matches between faculty gamers from the U.S. and Europe. Rozner gained all 4 of his matches at Formby Golf Club on the Lancashire coast of England. His final expertise in match play? That was in 2018 at Le Golf National outdoors Paris — as a spectator.

“It’s not every day you have a Ryder Cup 30 minutes from your home, no?” he mentioned with a smile. “The first day, I was on the first tee at 6 a.m. to watch and be ready. The atmosphere was just amazing.”

There gained’t be something like that at Austin Country Club, even with restricted followers. One spectator who plans to be there to observe Rozner is J.W. VanDenBorn, the golf director on the the University of Missouri-Kansas City who discovered Rozner a decade in the past throughout a global junior occasion.

VanDenBorn favored what he noticed, notably a windy day on the Greg Norman-designed White course at Doral.

“We saw some of the shots he was able to hit that were atypical of junior golfers at the time,” VanDenBorn mentioned. “His ability to hit different shots based on the wind, his ability to hit shots by taking something off it, those were things we valued.”

And so the child from Paris headed for the center of America.

“I didn’t know what to expect coming from Paris. It was a lovely four years,” Rozner mentioned. “If I had to do it again, I would.”

He closed out his faculty career with a level and as Western Athletic Conference participant of the year. The Roos didn’t make it to the NCAAs his ultimate year, however Rozner went as a person and tied for eighth at Eugene Country Club in Oregon.

From there, he began his professional career on the tiny Alps Tour in Europe, gained twice on the Challenge Tour and has gained in every of his two years on the European Tour.

“It can go quick in this sport. That’s a good thing,” Rozner mentioned. “It can go both ways, as well. In a couple of years, some guys go from the top of the world to nowhere. You have to keep grinding and pay attention to details.”

One participant who involves thoughts is somebody he admires — Victor Dubuisson of France, who reached as excessive as No. 15 on the earth, gained twice in Europe, performed within the 2014 Ryder Cup and supplied a few of the most charming moments on the Match Play in 2014 with two amazing escapes from the Arizona cactus earlier than shedding to Jason Day in 23 holes.

Dubuisson was slowed by an ear harm and now could be simply outdoors the highest 300 on the earth.

Rozner mentioned he spoke to Dubuisson final week to seek out out why he did so properly within the Match Play in 2014. The brief answer was to keep away from making errors and making a gift of photographs. Dubuisson had a manner of creating the troublesome look simple.

This is Rozner’s one week again in America relying on the way it goes.

Those 20-foot putts he used to follow as a child in France? He mentioned they had been to win the Masters, and there’s an opportunity the Frenchman can get to Augusta National subsequent month if he can win sufficient matches to maneuver into the highest 50.

“I haven’t done the math,” he mentioned. “We’ll see how that goes. I’m trying to take it match after match, step after step.”

He makes it sound like a gradual course of. He is aware of from expertise it will possibly yield fast outcomes.

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