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Friday, 19 March 2010
The Challenge Tour makes its second successive visit to the delightful course at Sable Solesmes in the heart of the rolling French countryside.

A year ago it was for the Challenge de France. This time the tournament is the Challenge de Sable but while the title has changed the players face the same test on the banks of the River Sarthe as they did 12 months ago.

Then, the tournament had a fitting climax with Warren Bennett taking the title after a sudden death playoff against Scott Watson. It marked the start of Bennett's record-breaking run, the first of his five titles which saw him top the rankings at the end of the season and achieve his ambition of playing on the main Tour.

Watson, meanwhile, finished two places outside the automatic promotion slots and is back at Sable this week seeking to go one better. It was his third Challenge Tour playoff and his second defeat, yet the Basingstoke-based 32 year old is looking forward to returning to the scene of the crime.

"It is a great venue and it holds a lot of good memories for me," he says. "Warren beat me at the second playoff hole when I hit a poor short to the par-three. But just because you do well at a course it doesn't mean you will do well again. Having said that I still hope to go one better than last year.

"That was the start of Warren's great run and there is a peculiar slant with me and playoffs. It seems that whoever beats me goes on to be number one. Michele Reale did it after beating me in the Canarias Challenge and then Warren finished top last year. When I won my only playoff in Sweden in 1996 I didn't finish number one. But there is still time."

All of this year's tournament winners are included in a strong field at Sable Solesmes while former Ryder Cup man Steve Richardson is playing his first ever Challenge Tour event after 10 years as a European Tour professional.

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Tournament Leaderboard

PosPlayer NameNatHolePar
1PARSONS, LucasAUS18-18
2BRINK, KalleSWE18-14
3BRIER, MarkusAUT18-13
T4SUNESON, CarlESP18-12
T4SKÖLD, JohanSWE18-12
T4SCAHILL, StephenNZL18-12
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