The European Challenge Tour makes its second visit to Finland in the space of a month this week for the inaugural Talma Finnish Challenge at Golf Talma, 30 kilometres from the centre of Helsinki.
The Talma Finnish Challenge is the successor to the Finnish Masters which was played at Master GC for the past three years. Last year Frenchman Christian Cévaër closed with two successive rounds of 64 to win the title by a shot from Pehr Magnebrant. It was Cévaër's second victory in Finland following his victory in the 1998 Finnish Open.
With its prize fund of 150,000 euro, the Talma Finnish Challenge will offer the bigger prize fund of the two events in Finland.
The tournament is being staged at the Henrik Wartiainen-designed course which measures 6,307 metres and comprises two loops of nine taken from the 27 holes within the complex. The golf course itself was opened in 1990.
The popularity of golf in Finland has grown substantially in recent years with more young players coming through the ranks such as Mikko Ilonen who last year became the first Finnish golfer to win The Amateur Championship and who subsequently finished tied ninth in the 130th Open Championship last month . Ilonen is one of a number of Finnish players expected to mount a challenge this week.
Other regular Finnish competitors on the European Challenge Tour are Mikael Piltz, Kalle Väinölä, Pauli Hughes, Kalle Aitala and Anssi Kankkonen and they will all be particularly keen to do well on home soil come this week.
The field also contains many of the leading contenders in the race to top the Challenge Tour Rankings, including Sebastien Delagrange who will be keen to regain the top spot after being overhauled by Mark Foster.