The doc Salbe PGA European Challenge sees one of the strongest fields assembled on the 2007 Challenge Tour, with 17 of this year’s 21 champions heading to the New Course at the Golf & Vital Park Bad Waldsee in Germany.
Those 17 winners have, between them, won 22 tournaments on the 2007 Schedule, with England’s Peter Baker, Robert Dinwiddie and Iain Pyman, along with Dutchman Joost Luiten and Italy’s Edoardo Molinari, having recorded two wins apiece.
As the third last event on the 2007 Challenge Tour, the doc Salbe PGA European Challenge takes on a huge significance for every man in the field. No matter what their position, every one of the 120 players has a reason to covet the €22,400 first prize on offer.
The players at the top of the Rankings will be desperate to consolidate their positions and close the gap on current Number One Ross McGowan of England, while the players at the bottom are searching for that one priceless victory that could rejuvenate their season and give them one last chance at breaking into the top 20.
One player in need of victory this week is Irishman Stephen Browne. The Dubliner has been in this position before and conquered the pressure to provide a stunning finish the 2005 season.
It was two years ago that Browne went into the third last event of the season – the inaugural Kazakhstan Open – in more hope than expectation, but a brilliant victory saw him leap from 110th place on the Rankings to 22nd before he finished off the season in 20th place, taking the last available European Tour card on offer.
The Irishman is in need of a similarly invigorating result this week. Currently 75th, a victory is required to shoot Browne to the cusp of a return to The European Tour.
“It is amazing what that one week can do for you,” said. “My win in Kazakhstan was that bit extra special because of the €40,000 first prize that shot me up the Rankings, but whoever wins in Germany this week, for example, will still give their year shot in the arm – especially if they are close to the top 20.
“For me, it would take get me in to the Grand Final, where we play for another inflated prize fund. A good result there can see a lot of movement on the final Rankings. There’s a lot of pressure on all of the players at this time of the season, but that is why we play the sport, to try and succeed in these conditions. I’m looking forward to the week.”