The Challenge Tour will be making two visits to Germany this year and the first takes place this week with the Galeria Kaufhof Pokal Challenge at Golfpark Rittergut Birkhof. The other is the Gunther Hamburg Classics at Treudelberg on 19-22 July.
This event featured last year but as a closed event in the German domestic programme. However, it has been upgraded to the Challenge Tour and will form part of the schedule for the next two years.
The tournament is sponsored by Galeria Kaufhof, one of the biggest department store chains in Germany, and will carry a prize fund of 85,000 euro.
The importance of the tournament is reflected in the strength of the field with all eight of this season’s winners in action.
Besides the eight winners, the field also includes several experienced golfers, headed by ex-Ryder Cup man Steven Richardson, who is set for his first Challenge Tour appearance of the season.
Joining the Hampshire-based golfer will be Welshmen Mark Pilkington and Jamie Donaldson, Peter Fowler from Australia, and Italy’s Massimo Florioli.
After the shake-up in the Rankings following last week’s Nykredit Danish Open in Aalborg, the new Number One Sebastien Delagrange will be keen to further strengthen his bid to finish on top at the end of the year, while the deposed Andrew Sherborne will be eager to regain top spot.
Golfpark Rittergut Birkhof is the work of architect Kurt Rossknecht and is one of Germany’s newer courses, having been opened in 1996. Situated between Dusseldorf and Moenchengladbach, it measures 5,832 metres (6,415 yards) with a par of 73. There is also a nine-hole circuit of 2,848 metres (3,132 yards).