While former Challenge Tour player Marco Crespi was taking top honours at the NH Collection Open, Jordi Garcia-Pinto fired a Sunday 66 to tie for second behind the Italian and move top of the 2014 Rankings.
The dual-ranking event marked the second tournament of the Challenge Tour season and, with a capped prize fund of €450,000, it was a lucrative one for the stars of the developmental tour as they chase a place in the field for the Dubai Festival City Challenge Tour Grand Final hosted by Al Badia Golf Club, where they will battle it out for graduation to The European Tour.
The 24 year old Garcia Pinto, who hails from Girona, leads the Rankings by more than €8,000 from Barclays Kenya Open winner Jake Roos after an impressive week at La Reserva de Sotogrande Club de Golf.
This is the second year in succession that Garcia-Pinto has led the Rankings at this early stage having, himself, won the first event in Kenya last season to go top before eventually finishing 24th on the list.
He will be hoping for better this season, having improved year on year since 2011, and if he were to do so then a berth in that all-important top 15 come season’s end could well be his, and subsequently a place on The Race to Dubai in 2015.
Oliver Fisher also fared well in southern Spain, continuing the fine form that almost yielded a second European Tour title at the Africa Open earlier this year, only losing out to Thomas Aiken in a play-off.
A tie for sixth in Sotogrande elevated him ito sixth in the Challenge Tour Rankings, and he is joined one place further down the list by fellow European Tour winner Bradley Dredge, who carded rounds of 70-69-78-66 to finish in a tie for tenth in Spain.
Fellow Welshman Rhys Davies also moved into the top ten on the Rankings after his tie for 12th at the NH Collection Open. He shares ninth place on the list alongside Phillip Archer, Gary Stal and Tjaart Van Der Walt who all fared well last week.
Next up for the Challenge Tour is another Spanish event, the Challenge de Catalunya, which returns to the schedule for the first time since 2012.
Brooks Koepka picked up his first professional victory at that event two years ago, and there will be another strong field teeing it up on the Greg Norman designed Lakes Course at Lumine Golf & Beach Club from April 24-27.