Friday, 19 March 2010
The Challenge Tour Championship, which gets underway at Bowood Golf and Country Club in Wiltshire on Thursday with Beazer Homes as the title sponsor, has become the Blue Riband event of the Challenge Tour year.

As one of the more lucrative tournaments, it is a must for all players while its position within the schedule adds to its significance, its prestige and its appeal.

It is the second event of what might be called the second half of the season. Last week's Finnish Masters saw a significant rise in prize money while the Beazer Homes Challenge Tour Championship carries the same 112,000 euro (£80,000) purse.

The Championship is also an accurate barometer of who might earn their cards on the European Tour next year. Since the Challenge Tour Championship began in 1995 every winner has been promoted to the main Tour at the end of that season.

In 1995 it was Thomas Björn of Denmark, a year later Dennis Edlund from Sweden was successful. In 1997 Australia's Greg Chalmers won through, while a year ago the Challenge Tour Championship became the fourth of Warren Bennett's five titles.

Next Sunday's champion is likely to follow in their footsteps and the field at Bowood is one of the best seen on the Challenge Tour this year. All but one of the leading 15 players on the rankings are competing and most are among the dozen tournament winners in the line-up.

The field of 156 also includes former Tour regulars Paul Curry, who has been playing on the Nike Tour in America, and Jon Robson, the Essex man who qualified off the Challenge Tour in 1994 and finished runner-up in the Benson and Hedges International at The Oxfordshire two years later.

Add to those the likes of Robert Lee, Stephen Dodd, Steven Richardson, Iain Pyman and teenager Justin Rose and the quality of the field ensures that the winner, come Sunday, will be a true champion.

Over the past four years the Championship has been played at East Sussex National, but the move to Bowood, set in magnificent countryside near Calne, ensures that the tournament continues to be played at a top class venue, thereby maintaining the event's prestige.

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Tournament Leaderboard

PosPlayer NameNatHolePar
1SUNESON, CarlESP18-16
T2LAFEBER, MaartenNED18-8
T2DREDGE, BradleyWAL18-8
R2D Fantasy

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