Alessandro Tadini will head to this week’s inaugural English Challenge on the European Challenge Tour with two very good reasons to be confident.
The first comes as a direct result of his fine victory in last week’s Credit Suisse Challenge but the second is the fact that the last time the Challenge Tour staged an event in England – he won. That came in the Oceânico Group Pro-Am Challenge near Manchester in June 2008 and the 36 year old from Borgomanero admitted he was looking forward to returning.
“I had very good memories of that event and my time in England as a whole,” said Tadini, whose stunning 22 under par total of 266 in Switzerland saw him rise to 13th in the Challenge Tour Rankings.“I played well there in 2008 and obviously I’m playing well at the moment so it’s all good.”
A strong field has assembled at the Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf and Spa near Colchester, Essex, including former World Number One Amateur Jamie Moul, who will be hoping to put his local knowledge to good use.
Moul has been the touring professional at Stoke by Nayland since joining the professional ranks after representing Great Britain and Ireland in the 2007 Walker Cup, alongside the likes of European Tour champions Rhys Davies, David Horsey and Rory McIlroy.
The 25 year old won the 2006 Lytham Trophy and the 2007 English Amateur Stoke Play Championship in a glittering amateur career, and has made a steady start to his professional career, with a tie for sixth place at the 2008 Russian Open Golf Championship and a tie for fourth at the 2009 Club Colombia Masters his best results on The European and Challenge Tours respectively.
A tie for fifth at the recent Fred Olsen Challenge de España is his highest finish so far this season, but Moul is hopeful of mounting a strong challenge at the €150,000 event in front of his home supporters.
“I’m really looking forward to the tournament – hopefully a few of my friends and family will come along and watch, and the club’s also got about 1,400 members, so hopefully a fair few of them will come along too,” he said. I grew up in Colchester and I still live there now, so it really is a home tournament for me. Hopefully I can have a good week.”
Moul will be joined in Essex by Italian starlet Matteo Manassero, who will be making the third Challenge Tour appearance of his fledgling career, and his second in succession following his tie for tenth place in last week’s Credit Suisse Challenge.
Other notable names in the field include the English duo of Matt Haines and Charlie Ford , respectively eighth and ninth in the Challenge Tour Rankings. Both men have benefited from funding and support from the English Golf Union (EGU), which is an Official Partner of the €150,000 event.
Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf and Spa, which is situated in stunning ‘Constable Country’ on the Suffolk / Essex borders, is a fitting venue for the tournament, as it has been awarded the Golf Mark hi-achiever accreditation by the EGU and English Women’s Golf Association in recognition of its junior and beginner-friendly facilities.
The Gainsborough course has hosted events on the European Senior Tour and EuroPro Tours, but it is the first time the 6,757 yards (6,179 metres), par 72 layout will be used on the Challenge Tour in an event which will be co-funded by veteran golf agent Rocky Hambric.
|T2||FLEETWOOD (AM), Tommy||ENG||18||-16|