Friday, 19 March 2010
The Challenge Tour makes its second visit in little over a month to the delightful northern city of Helsinki this week. Back in early July the Volvo Finnish Open was played at the Espoo Golf Club when South African Jean Hugo celebrated his maiden Challenge Tour victory.

This week it is the turn of the Finnish Masters at the appropriately named Masters Golf Club for the third playing of the tournament.

The inaugural event took place in 1998 and was won by Massimo Scarpa from Italy, who carded a closing 69 for a 17-under-par total of 271 and finished a shot ahead of Christopher Hanell of Sweden. Last year, Australian Lucas Parsons was the victor and, like, Scarpa, went on to secure his place on the main Tour. It was Parsons' second victory of the year and he did it in style with a closing 66 for 16-under-par 272, a shot clear of overnight leader, Thomas Norret from Denmark.

Norret is expected to be challenging again, having come close to winning both the Beazer homes Challenge Tour Championship two weeks ago as well as the BMW Russian Open last week.

The 156-strong field in Finland is expected to contain many of this season's winners including double champion, David Higgins from Ireland, currently No.1 on the Order of Merit, Shaun Webster, the winner at Bowood and Marco Bernardini, who clinched his maiden tour victory in Moscow on Sunday.

The 6,620 yard, par 72 Masters course, situated 25 kilometres from the centre of the city, which dates from 1988, is expected to be as testing as usual and, if the past tournaments are any guide, surrenders shots sparingly.

A total purse of 132,500 euro (around £85,000) will be on offer with 21,522 euro (around £13,500) going to the champion.

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