Friday, 19 March 2010
With the finishing line in sight on this year's Challenge Tour, the action returns to Eastern Europe this week for the Daewoo Warsaw Golf Open, starting on Wednesday.

This tournament has experienced a somewhat difficult short history. The inaugural event was played at the First Warsaw Golf and Country Club in October 1996 and was won by Erol Simsek of Germany. But he didn't get to defend the title the following year because extreme weather conditions, which hit Poland and much of Central Europe, saw the course disappear under several feet of water.

The First Warsaw Golf and Country Club is built on an old riverbed, which fed the River Vistula, and incessant rain flooded the low-lying area. With the Vistula already many feet above its normal level, the water had nowhere to go but over the course, only the trees and some greens being visible.

It was a much happier story a year ago. Spain's Jose Carriles led by three going into the final round but a birdie-free 75 saw him slide down the field and finish fifth behind fellow Spaniard Jose Manuel Lara, who came from five strokes back with a closing round of 68 for a two-shot victory from Sweden's Raimo Sjoberg.

This week, top-ranked Carl Suneson heads an impressive field chasing the 102,564 euro (£73,260) prize fund. The Spaniard, who has won three times on the Challenge Tour this year to regain his card for the main tour in 2000, has a comfortable lead over Dutchman Maarten Lafeber and Markus Brier of Austria.

But with just six tournaments remaining on the schedule and 16 of the top 20 in action this week, there could be a big reshuffle of the top 15 spots who earn automatic promotion to the main tour next year.

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