You only have to type the six letters of his name on the European Tour website to understand that he is not quite the same family as other French golfers. His last (and ephemeral) passage through the Old Continent dates back to May 2018 on the Challenge Tour. Paul Barjon, 27, has since disappeared from European radars.
But here he is pointing his blades in this scary US Open with a bib number 169th in the world (the 5th best ranked Frenchman) on his back and it is anything but a coincidence. Because this New Caledonian, who hit his first balls in Dumbéa, in the suburbs of Nouméa, is the most American of Frenchies. His place in the field of his first Major, he owes it to a 5th place on the Korn Ferry Tour, the D2 of the PGA Tour, at the time of specific qualifying.
“My parents had nothing against golf but they always pushed me to study
Before settling his bag in the United States, Barjon traveled quite a bit. At the age of 16, he left his island at the end of the world, heading for the France pole of Antibes. “It was really brave of him to go on long trips alone, remembers Julien Brun, former world n ° 5 amateur. But Paul always had this desire to move forward and progress. “ For four years, far from his relatives, the Caldoche trained relentlessly and piled up amateur successes, such as the French Team Championship with Cannes-Mougins in 2011, or a 3rd place at the World Championships in 2012.
The following ? Almost naturally the globetrotter flies to the United States and integrates the University of TCU (Texas Christian University) in Fort Worth. “My parents had nothing against golf but they always pushed me to study, just to have something in case of failure, raconte barjon. Julien Brun, who had left a year before me, told me all the good about TCU. The choice was quickly made. “
Focus on the PGA Tour in 2022
The Frenchman discovers the United States and quickly blends into the background. With a mischievous look and an easy, sociable and perfectly bilingual smile, he quickly won unanimous support. “ For having shared the room with him this year, I can say that Paul is really an easy going person, confirms his compatriot Cyril Bouniol. Not the type to take the lead. “ A philosophy transposed to golf.
Once his studies are finished, unlike Clément Sordet, Joël Stalter or Victor Perez, all three returned to Europe after their university studies, Barjon made the bet to try the American adventure. “I did not have an attachment in metropolitan France. I met at university the one who became my wife and that also weighed in my choice. It is an essential support. If you’re all alone it’s still hard to adapt. This life on the American circuit is not easy, it is a hermit’s life. “
“Paul is going to experience what will certainly become his daily life in a short time
Over the seasons, Barjon (1.85 m, 84 kg) climbed the ranks. Winner of the Mackenzie Tour (the Canadian circuit) last year, he is currently 8th on the Korn Ferry Tour and remains in 7th place on Sunday during his last outing in the suburbs of Chicago. Evolving on the PGA Tour in 2022 (due to the Covid, the rise will be done over the 2020-2021 seasons) seems within reach. “Paul is going to experience what will certainly become his daily life in a short time, assures Jean Van De Velde, the only Frenchman to have kept his card on the PGA Tour in 2000. After that, a US Open course is a cut above what you can find the rest of the year. This is the ultimate test. You have to give everything you have but not be disappointed if things don’t go very well. It is an apprenticeship. “