Judgement day is approaching for the European Challenge Tour players as they get ready to contest the season’s finale – The Grand Final at Golf de Médoc in Bordeaux, with the pressure for places on The European Tour in 2004 reaching fever pitch.
The top 15 players on the Challenge Tour Rankings after the €150,000 Grand Final will join the likes of Darren Clarke, Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood on The Tour next season in the hope grabbing their share of the glory in the quest to become household names across the golfing world – just like those aforementioned stars.
The Challenge Tour professionals have being playing under pressure throughout the year, but the level of intensity at the Grand Final will play a major part in deciding who makes the step up to the Tour.
The players in the most nerve wracking positions this weekend are those at the tail end of the top 15, alongside those professionals within touching distance of those coveted places.
Jamie Elson, Ivo Giner and Ben Mason – respectively 13th, 14th and 15th on the Rankings – will be desperate to take as much of the prize fund as possible to safeguard their respective positions, while the like of Sion Bebb, Peter Gustafsson, Greig Hutcheon, Michael Kirk and Richard McEvoy can all force their way into the final 15 by finishing in the top two places at Golf de Médoc.
“It’s all about the Grand Final now,” said Elson after finishing tied 27th at the Turespaña Mallorca Classic last weekend. “Everyone is in with a chance and you can tell that a lot of us are under pressure now because things are getting a bit more intense in the build up to this week.
“I think that places on the Rankings are insignificant in a sense this week – I’m just concentrating on playing well in Bordeaux, and if I do that then I should keep my place in the top 15.”
The battle to be Number One on the Rankings, meanwhile, is far from over, with Number One Martin LeMesurier within reach of the 13 players immediately behind him.