Joachim B. Hansen capped off a sublime season on the European Challenge Tour by becoming the first Dane to win the Rankings since Thomas Bjørn did so in 1995.
Over 19 starts, the 28 year old compiled two wins, three runner-up finishes, and another four top tens, against only four missed cuts, to complete his journey on the Road to Ras Al Khaimah with €222,320.
The trophy-winning campaign got off to the most unassuming of starts — a missed cut by a whopping five shots at the season-opening Barclays Kenya Open.
Whatever it was that Hansen needed to figure out, he figured out quickly though, and in his next appearance, at the Belt and Road Colorful Yunnan Open, he finished in a tie for second place.
The upward trend did not stop and in just his third outing of the year, he found the winners’ circle at the Turkish Airlines Challenge.
Hansen backed up his first Challenge Tour win with a pair of consecutive top tens, making the prospect of a return to the European Tour — where he had competed in three seasons: 2013, 2014 and 2016 — seem very likely.
The embarrassment of riches continued when Hansen finished as a runner up at the SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge hosted by Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, before returning to his homeland the next week.
Back on home soil he fired two sub-65 rounds, which allowed him to cruise to a commanding five stroke victory and his second win at the Made In Denmark Challenge presented by Ejner Hessel, one which held great personal significance.
“It feels so good. It’s so hard to find the words. I’m so delighted and satisfied about this victory on home soil,” he said at the time. “It’s just what I came here to do this week and to deliver the job feels so good.
“Winning on home soil with your family watching and then holding the Made in Denmark Challenge trophy – it’s what every Danish golfer wants to do.”
That triumph put wind in his sails, and a tied third at the Euram Bank Open, followed by another second-place finish at the Swedish Challenge hosted by Robert Karlsson – his third of the season – sealed his graduation to the European Tour and put him on top of the Rankings.
His focus then shifted to a higher goal, one he finally achieved, after grinding out a tied 13th place finish at the Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour Grand Final.
“Topping the Road to Ras Al Khaimah Rankings has been the goal since securing my European Tour card and to achieve that feels unreal,” he said.
“I have played the European Tour for three years before and have learned a lot from that experience. Now that this season has ended it is time to aim higher and look at bigger goals.”
Now back on Europe’s top tier, it’s all right in front of the man they called JB.