Dutchman Taco Remkes will take the confidence from a fine home win when he tries to seal his third European Challenge Tour victory of the season at this week’s AGF-Allianz Open de Toulouse.
Remkes sealed a fairytale triumph at his home club when he landed The Dutch Futures presented by The Royal Bank of Scotland, defeating Denmark’s Jeppe Huldhal in a sudden death play-off.
It was his second victory of the season, following his win at the Scottish Challenge in June, and means he could seal instant qualification on to The European Tour this week under the three wins rule introduced in 2005.
The 23 year old will try to emulate his compatriot Joost Luiten who produced a stunning final round 64 at the Golf de Toulouse in Seilh, France, last year to clinch his maiden professional title and has since gone on to be a success on The European Tour.
Also buoyed by their success at the weekend will be Finland’s Roope Kakko and the Portuguese pair of Tiago Cruz and Ricardo Santos, who booked their respective country’s places in the Omega Mission Hills World Cup in China via the European Qualifier in Poland.
Kakko, and partner Mikko Korhonen, won the qualifying event by eight strokes to secure their ticket to China alongside Canada and Portugal, and the Finn will now hope to build on that performance as he seeks to move from 45th into the all important top 20 on the Challenge Tour Rankings.
Current Number One England’s Gary Lockerbie returns to competitive action this week following his maiden Challenge Tour victory at the Kazakhstan Open.
His two-shot triumph in Almaty saw Lockerbie pick up a cheque for €68,800 which shot him to the top of the Challenge Tour Rankings, and guaranteed him playing privileges on The European Tour next season.
Having taken last week off to recuperate, Lockerbie will head to Golf de Toulouse in Seilh, France, intent on preserving his position at the head of the Rankings, and so remain on course to secure a place at the money-spinning HSBC Champions tournament in November.
Speaking after his breakthrough win, Lockerbie said: “The goal was always to get my card back for The European Tour, and now I’ve achieved that.
“I’d love to go there as the Number One graduate. It would be some achievement, because two or three weeks ago I was worrying about whether I would make it into the top 20. Now I’ve gone to first in the Rankings, I’d love to stay there. That’s the next target.”
Bidding to deny Lockerbie and reclaim his status as Number One is compatriot David Horsey, who led at the mid-way point of the Kazakhstan Open before successive rounds of 72 saw him fall back to a share of fifth place.
Horsey’s cheque for €17,486 took his earnings for the season to €123,802, which is €6,241 behind the leader Lockerbie.
With just two events of the season left after this week’s, Horsey will hope to return to his native Manchester with the lion’s share of the €140,000 prize fund in his luggage. Like Remkes, Horsey goes to Seilh searching for his third win of 2008 and has already tasted victory in France this year, winning the AGF-Allianz EurOpen de Lyon.