Antoine Rozner gave a timely reminder to those across the Atlantic that there’s some talent on “that” wee Tour in Europe after the Frenchman, alongside his caddie Darren Reynolds, took down Bryson DeChambeau on day one of the WGC-Dell Match Play.
Making his first WGC appearance, Rozner went into the match as the obvious underdog but found himself 1UP playing the last before finding trouble off the right of the 18th tee. With a bare lie, a tree to go over and a six-pence to land his ball on to keep it on the green, Rozner pulled off a Houdini act, opening his wedge up to great acclaim before knocking in the six foot putt for a 2UP win.
“I’m very happy,” said Rozner. “I was trying to put a good score today. I was just trying to put a solid round of golf, and I think I did that pretty well, especially on the front. Didn’t make any mistakes really on the front, and being three up after 12 holes I think was a good enough lead.
“I was excited because it’s my first WGC. It’s match play, and I haven’t played match play in a long time, so I think I was more excited than curious. It was just a lot of fun. It’s nice to play again in front of some people out here because in Europe we don’t have any crowds yet, so it was a lot of fun.
“And just being able to beat the world No 5, it’s not every day that I can play match play against the world No 5 in a tournament. I won the French Amateur back-to-back, I played the Palmer Cup as an amateur and won my four matches there, so I’ve got a pretty good record in match play as an amateur, but this is my first match play event as a pro.”
Once again, Rozner had Irish looper Reynolds by his side who came in for praise after helping his charge capture his second European Tour title at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in Doha earlier this month.
“I was looking for a good experienced caddy and Darren’s player had to undergo surgery so it meant Darren was not working, so we agreed to start working together,” Rozner said in Doha.
“The great thing with Darren, he is very experienced. This is his 24th season and he’s worked with some great players and most of the golf courses we play, he knows them very well. He knows what it takes to win. He knows what it requires to compete at a high level, so he has brought a lot of confidence to my game. Darren and I are both very happy working together.”
Reynolds was the former long-time caddy to Paul McGinley while more recently he caddied for Greystones swinger Paul Dunne and was beside Dunne when he chipped-in for birdie at the last to capture the 2017 British Masters title. In Rozner, Reynolds is now working alongside one of Europe’s most exciting talents and if the 28-year old’s trajectory continues on this steep upward curve, he’ll be a worthy competitor on Padraig Harrington’s Ryder Cup team ahead of September’s Match at Whistling Straits.