Wednesday, 03 May 2000
The Challenge Tour resumes this week in Switzerland with the Credit Suisse Private Banking Open, a new £60,000 tournament, being hosted by the Golf Club Patriziale in Ascona.

A strong field will contest this new title including South African Trevor Immelman, and Eric Carlberg of Sweden, winners of the two previous Challenge Tour events this year and currently first and second on the rankings.

Carlberg was first up on the 2000 schedule by winning the Challenge de Espana at Guadiana in February, only to be overtaken by Immelman when he triumphed in the Tusker Kenya Open in Nairobi in March.

They will be seeking to consolidate their positions in Ascona while the tournament will mark the Challenge Tour debut of Britain's newest professional, Graeme Storm, who joined the paid ranks immediately after his US Masters appearance at Augusta.

Storm, the British Amateur champion following his victory at Royal County Down last June, and a member of Great Britain and Ireland's victorious Walker Cup team against the United States amateurs at Nairn last September, made his pro debut in the rain-affected Euro Pro Tour event at East Dorset but only got to play one round.

Although he is entered for next week's Benson and Hedges International Open at The Belfry and for the Jack Nicklaus Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village at the end of May, Storm will be eager for a successful debut in Switzerland to secure a Challenge Tour category.

He is joined in Ascona by Walker Cup team-mates Lorne Kelly from Scotland and Ireland's Paddy Gribben, while the field also includes a number of promising youngsters such as the French duo of Olivier David and Nicolas Marin, Jean Hugo from South Africa, and Italy's Roberto Paolillo.

Also likely to be among the pace-setters are experienced former European Tour regulars Miles Tunnicliff, Andrew Sherborne, Carl Watts, Klas Eriksson, Martin Gates, Johan Rystrom, Daniel Chopra, and Stuart Cage.

The Golf Club Patriziale course is one of the most attractive in Switzerland. Situated 600 feet above sea level on the shore of Lake Maggiore, it measures 5,933 metres (6,526 yards) with a par of 71.

The club dates back to 1928 when the land was rented for 400 Swiss francs per annum for the construction of an 18-hole golf course. At first, only four holes were constructed, then it operated with nine for a long time, and it wasn't until 1957 that all 18 holes were open for play.

The design is by Charles Cotton and the course has changed little from his original work. However, the club is constantly striving for improvements and in recent times trees have been planted while some tees and greens have been rebuilt.

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