Wednesday, 26 September 2001
The Challenge Tour breaks new ground this week when it makes its second visit of the year to Austria for the PGA of Austria Masters.

Not only will this be the first time Austria has hosted two Challenge Tour events in the same year, but the Challenge Tour will be making its maiden visit to the Golfclub Eichenheim in the famous town of Kitzbuhel.

It was back in May that the Austrian Open was played at Golfclub Murhof in Graz when England’s Chris Gane secured his maiden Challenge Tour title. Gane will be making a return trip this week along with 17 other Challenge Tour title holders in what is an extremely strong field.

The PGA Of Austria Masters is one of only five tournaments left on this year’s schedule and with the finishing line in sight, every shot and every euro gained is likely to prove vital at the end of the campaign.

Eleven of the leading 15 ranked players will be competing and 39 of the top 50. With the leading eight on the Rankings seemingly sure of their European Tour cards for next year, it is those from ninth place downwards who need to improve or consolidate their positions who will be in Kitzbuhel.

This will be the first of three successive PGA of Austria Masters scheduled to be played in Kitzbuhel as part of the newly established Austrian PGA Tour organised to provide opportunities for young Austrians with competitive golf.

Consequently, this week’s field contains over a dozen Austrians, who hope to follow the example of Markus Brier and eventually earn a place on The European Tour.

Ralph Hagen, Sportdirector of the Austrian PGA, said: “We are delighted to welcome the Challenge Tour to Austria for the first PGA of Austria Masters, which will be the highlight of our season.”

The Golfclub Eichenheim is just 15 minutes walk from the town centre and is comparatively new. The club was founded in 1999 and opened a year ago as the third golf club in Kitzbuhel after the Schwarzee and Schloss Kaps.

The course is very hilly and is the work of famous American architect Robert Trent Jones Jnr.

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