The 2013 European Challenge Tour schedule
, released today, continues the Tour’s mission to unearth the world’s top young golfers and bring the game to all corners of the globe with 24 tournaments confirmed in 17 different nations.
Players such as Nicolas Colsaerts, Branden Grace and Martin Kaymer have passed through its ranks in recent years and the announcement of such a healthy schedule for the Tour’s 25th anniversary season once again illustrates its continuing diversity.
The pioneering spirit of the Challenge Tour is illustrated by two new tournament destinations in 2013, Oman and Ukraine, while a return to Germany after a five year absence provides another welcome boost to the calendar.
The visit to Ukraine comes in September when the Superior Golf & Spa Resort in Kharkov is the venue for the Kharkov Superior Cup, a week before the Challenge Tour ‘Major’, the lucrative Kazakhstan Open, returns to Nurtau Golf Club for the ninth edition of the tournament.
The following month marks another historic breakthrough for the Challenge Tour as it makes its debut in Oman for the National Bank of Oman Classic at Almouj Golf, The Wave, near Muscat, the week before the season once again reaches its traditional climax at the Challenge Tour Grand Final.
Prior to that, July’s Hartl Resort Challenge will provide a long-awaited return to Germany, a country whose Challenge Tour events have produced some great champions including Martin Kaymer, Joost Luiten and Richie Ramsey.
Alain de Soultrait, Director of the Challenge Tour, said: “Once again, the Challenge Tour continues to grow year on year, despite increasingly difficult economic times, and we are delighted to announce such a healthy schedule which provides challenges as well as rewards for all our players, something which make this Tour the perfect preparation for The European Tour.
“Not only that, the Challenge Tour is still breaking boundaries in golf with the announcement of our tournaments in the Ukraine and Oman. Our voyages into new countries have produced huge results in recent years, illustrated perfectly last year by Espen Kofstad who became the first Norwegian to win the Rankings.
“Another very pleasing statistic in that regard is that a Czech player - Marek Novy - has a category for the first time in 2013 and we look forward to his homecoming at the second edition of the D+D Real Czech Challenge Open.”
The Czech tournament, at Golf and Spa Kunĕtická Hora in Dritec, has moved from its traditional October slot to the beginning of June and is part of the strong summer across the continent of Europe for the Challenge Tour with tournaments in Portugal, Belgium, Spain, France, Scotland, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Finland and Norway, following on from the start of the season which features the Gujarat Kensville Challenge in India in January and the 44th staging of the Barclays Kenya Open in February.
The Tour will touch down on European soil for the first time in April for the Challenge de Madrid, which will for the first time be played at elEncíngolf outside the Spanish capital, while the Kärnten Golf Open in June moves to the Jacques Lemans Golf Club in St Veit-Längsee.
A month earlier, in mid-May, the prize fund for the Madeira Islands Open on The European Tour will once again count towards the Challenge Tour Rankings while the dual-ranking event at Aa Saint Omer Golf Club returns under a new name, the Najeti Hotels et Golfs Open.
“The mix of established tournaments alongside new events is excellent and is the very essence of the Challenge Tour,” said De Soultrait.
“We very much value our long term partners and that is shown by the 44th staging of the Barclays Kenya Open and the 25th edition of the Rolex Trophy in Switzerland, but we are equally excited to be returning to Germany for the first time in five years for the inaugural Hartl Resort Challenge, in addition to the new venues for the Challenge de Madrid and the Kärnten Golf Open.
“Of course, without the support of our various sponsors and federations the continued success of the Challenge Tour would not be possible and we thank them for the part they play in producing the golf stars of the future. We are very much looking forward to 2013.”