The European Challenge Tour heads for the Open de Toulouse this weekend, where Scotland’s Scott Drummond took the title last season to secure his place on the 2004 European Tour, where he wrote himself into golfing folklore by winning this season’s 50th Volvo PGA Championship.
If Drummond had not scored victory in Toulouse, he might not have made it to the European Tour, and as a result, would not have stunned the golfing world with his sensational win at Wentworth Club.
With a record equaling 19 under par total that included a fearless and unforgettable final round 64, it is fair to say that Drummond’s five year Challenge Tour education was a key factor in securing the biggest win of his career so far back in May.
Drummond won his European Tour card by finishing seventh on the 2003 Challenge Tour Rankings after a productive season saw him take the Open de Toulouse title as well as registering a further seven top ten finishes.
Now the Challenge Tour’s class of 2004 is ready to follow the Scot onto European golf’s biggest stage, and, with just five events remaining on this years Schedule, the race for the top 15 places on the Rankings – and to become Challenge Tour champion – is entering its intense finale.
Italy’s Alessandro Tadini continues to lead the Rankings since overhauling Sweden’s Leif Westerberg after his second place finish at the Aa St Omer Open. Tadini looked to be in an unassailable position in terms of the Challenge Tour Number One spot until the emergence of Englishman Lee Slattery.
Slattery has exploded onto the Challenge Tour in the past two months and secured his maiden victory at the Telia Grand Prix on Europe’s second Tour two weeks ago. The 26 year old featured in two Challenge Tour events at the beginning of the season (The Stanbic Zambia Open and the Kenya Open), but the majority of that prize money has been accumulated in just eight weeks with a second place finish at the JJB North West Challenge, a third at the Ryder Cup Wales Challenge and a second at the Rolex Trophy.
He guaranteed himself another second place at Fontana Golf Club at the BA-CA Golf Open presented by Telekom Austria, before his first Challenge Tour win at the Telia Grand Prix in Sweden.
Tadini and Slattery look set to battle all the way to the Bouygues Telecom Grand Final for the Number One spot, while any one of the top 100 players on the Rankings could still break into the top 15 before the end of the season and secure a priceless place on the European Tour International Schedule 2005.