• Comment

Former Tech golfer's thoughts with victims of attack in his hometown of Nice, France

Posted: July 15, 2016 - 3:04pm  |  Updated: July 15, 2016 - 11:56pm
Clement Sordet plays his shot from the 7th tee, wearing a cap that has the words 'Pray for Nice' written by hand on it, during the second round of the British Open in Troon, Scotland, on Friday.  Ben Curtis / AP Photo
Ben Curtis / AP Photo
Clement Sordet plays his shot from the 7th tee, wearing a cap that has the words 'Pray for Nice' written by hand on it, during the second round of the British Open in Troon, Scotland, on Friday.

TROON, Scotland — French golfer Clement Sordet woke up at 4 a.m. on Friday to text messages asking if he was safe following the tragedy in his hometown of Nice.

In fact, Sordet was on the west coast of Scotland for the British Open at Royal Troon, but his girlfriend, Marie, and her family were in Nice and celebrating Bastille Day when a truck plowed through revelers gathered along the Riviera city’s waterfront promenade. At least 84 people were killed.

Sordet, a former Texas Tech golfer, said the tragedy happened about 500 meters from where he lives.

“It’s a really sad situation,” the 23-year-old Sordet said. “I give my thoughts to all the families and to the people who died.”

He said his girlfriend, her family and his friends are safe.

Sordet used a blue marker to write the words “Pray For Nice” on his cap for his second round. He was in the first group out for the second round at 6:35 a.m., and shot 4-over 75. He finished five strokes below The Open’s cutline.

“I tried not to think about it, that’s why I had this on my hat,” Sordet said, pointing to the side of his cap. “I just tried to enjoy the last day at the Open.”

Sordet tied for 110th place, finishing 8-over par, in his first major along with his countryman, Victor Dubuisson, who was born in Cannes, a city just down the coast from Nice in southeastern France.

After struggling on the back nine Thursday, Sordet started his round with bogeys on three of the first five holes. He did, however, come up with a birdie on the par-5 No. 4. He also had bogeys on the 13th and 14th holes, sealing his fate.

Sordet and Dubisson were the only French golfers in the British Open field.

But France was still in the minds of those on hand and The Open organizers. The French flag that flies above the grandstand at the 18th green, along with the banners of every other nation represented in the 156-player field, was lowered to half-staff Friday.

The R&A, which organizes the British Open, has made black ribbons available for players and caddies to wear as a mark of respect to those who died in the attack in Nice.

Sordet, who was sparked by a third-round 63 at the Thailand Golf Championship in December to earn qualification for the Open Championship, is the second Red Raider in as many years to make the field at a major golf championship. Matias Dominguez participated in the 2015 Masters.

Sordet has two career Challenge Tour wins, most recently at the Turkish Airlines Challenge, where he posted four sub-70 rounds on his way to the title. Despite being a professional for only a year, he has already cracked the top 200 of the Official World Golf Rankings at No. 197.

As a Red Raider, Sordet won five titles, the most in school history. Sordet was named a second-team all-American in 2015, after completing a season with a school-record stroke average of 70.9.

Sordet was born in Charbonnieres-les-Bains, near Lyon. He moved to Nice, where his girlfriend is from. He won’t be back there for another two weeks because he is about to play in back-to-back tournaments. Sordet said he wouldn’t be nervous going back to France. The attack in Nice has rocked a nation still dealing with the aftermath of two attacks in Paris last year that killed a total of 147 people.

“I’m really proud to be French,” he said. “We need to support each other.”

  • Comment