The Challenge Tour lands on European soil for the first time in 2009 with this week’s ALLIANZ Open Côtes d’Armor Bretagne, which has produced some noteworthy winners in its brief history.
Following a South American and African adventure which took in visits to Colombia, Kenya and Morocco, the stars of the future now assemble in Brittany in France for the third edition of the €150,000 event.
Former Ryder Cup player Peter Baker of England will have particularly fond memories of Golf Blue Green de Pléneuf Val André, having claimed his second Challenge Tour title there in 2007, a victory which effectively sealed his return to The European Tour.
Baker, who was succeeded as champion last year by his 1993 Ryder Cup teammate Joakim Haeggmann of Sweden, will be making his maiden Challenge Tour appearance of the season when he tackles the 6,435 yard, par 70 course.
To underline the strength of last year’s field, seven of the top ten subsequently graduated to The European Tour, either through their final position on the Challenge Tour Rankings or via the Qualifying School – Final Stage.
Two of the three who missed out on promotion, England’s Adam Gee and Sweden’s Andreas Högberg, return to Brittany hoping to improve on their respective tied seventh and joint third finishes last year.
Of the two men Högberg comes into the event in better form, having finished in a tie for 14th in the MOROCCAN CLASSIC by BANQUE POPULAIRE a fortnight ago.
That tournament was won by England’s Robert Coles, whose cheque for €22,400 moved him to second place in the Rankings behind his compatriot Gary Boyd.
Another Englishman in this week’s field is Iain Pyman who, with eight victories to his name, holds the record for the most Challenge Tour titles.
Other notable names in the field include Philip Golding, who finished second in the recent Tusker Kenya Open, and his fellow European Tour champion José-Filipe Lima of Portugal, making his first Challenge Tour appearance of the season.
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