The European Challenge Tour continues to flourish in 2012 with a nine-month schedule which incorporates a minimum of 26 tournaments – four of them new – played in 18 different countries across four continents.
The 24th Challenge Tour campaign begins in Asia with the Gujarat Kensville Challenge, at Kensville Golf and Country Club in Ahmedabad, India, from January 26-29, and culminates in Europe with the Apulia San Domenico Grand Final from October 24-27.
It will also visit South America for the Pacific Rubiales Colombia Classic, held at Baranquilla Country Club in Baranquilla, Colombia, from March 8-11, and Africa for the Barclays Kenya Open, at Muthaiga Golf Club in Nairobi, Kenya, from March 29-April 1.
The Pacific Rubiales Colombia Classic, which will mark the first co-sanctioning of a tournament between the Challenge and Pacific Colombia Tours, is the first of four new events on the schedule, followed by Le Robinie Open, held at Golf & Resort Le Robinie in Solbiate Olona, Italy, from June 28-July 1.
The two remaining additions to the schedule take place later in the season, starting with a visit to Kytäjä Golf Club near Helsinki, Finland, which will host the Finnish Challenge from August 2-5; and finally the Challenge de Cataluña, which will be held from September 27-30.
Four venues will also be making their debuts on the Challenge Tour this year.
They are Ravenstein Royal Golf Club of Belgium, in Tervuren, Belgium, which for the first time will stage the Telenet Trophy from May 24-27; Byneset Golf Club in Trondheim, Norway, host venue of the Norwegian Challenge from August 9-12; Stensballegaard Golf in Horsens, Denmark, which from August 15-18 will stage the ECCO Tour Championship presented by Thomas Björn and Mercedes-Benz; and, finally, Golf du Kempferhof in Plosbheim, France, which from August 30-September 2 will host the second of four ALLIANZ-sponsored tournaments on the schedule, the ALLIANZ Open de Strasbourg.
The first, the ALLIANZ Open Côtes d’Armor Bretagne, will be the first tournament held on European soil when it returns to Golf Blue Green de Pléneuf Val André in Pleneuf, France, from May 10-13.
With a prize fund of €400,000, the Kazakhstan Open from September 13-16, won last year by the Rankings winner Tommy Fleetwood of England, will for the eighth successive season be the most lucrative regular event on the Challenge Tour Schedule.
The dual-ranking SAINT-OMER Open presented by Neuflize OBC returns to Aa St Omer Golf Club in Lumbres, France, from June 14-17 with a prize purse of €500,000; whilst prize money earned at the €700,000 Madeira Islands Open, held from May 17-20 at Santo da Serra in Madeira, Portugal, will also count towards the Challenge Tour Rankings – though the fund will be capped at €500,000 for the purposes of the Rankings only.
Alain de Soultrait, Director of the Challenge Tour, said: “We are delighted to deliver a minimum of 26 tournaments on our schedule in 2012, which is one more than last year, and are confident of adding more events later in the season. In these still challenging times, that is hugely encouraging and is a testament to the superb efforts of the federations, promoters and sponsors. Without their support and the trust they place in us, the Challenge Tour simply could not be as successful as it is.
“Following the success of last season we are excited about the year ahead, with new tournaments in Colombia, Italy, Finland and Spain complementing the return of some old favourites. I am certain our Members will enjoy visiting new places and playing new courses, and I am equally sure that they will continue to show the golfing excellence which has become synonymous with the Challenge Tour.”
To view the full 2012 Challenge Tour schedule click here