Former champion Robert Dinwiddie of England will try to turn back the clock in the Rolex Trophy this week in a bid to extend his lead at the top of the European Challenge Tour Rankings.
Dinwiddie, the 2007 winner, has fond memories of the 6,875 yard, par 72 course at Golf Club de Genève where he captured the second of two Challenge Tour titles in the space of a week.
Since the inaugural edition in 1989 the elite 42-man event has been played at Golf Club de Genève, making it the longest running event on the Challenge Tour Schedule.
Dinwiddie won this year’s Kenya Open to take charge of the Rankings and, thanks largely to his joint second place finish at the dual ranking SAINT-OMER OPEN presented by Neuflize OBC, has already accrued €79,210 in prize money, which will almost certainly be enough to secure him a return to The European Tour at the first time of asking.
A week after capturing his maiden Challenge Tour title at the Scottish Challenge, Dinwiddie doubled his tally when he held off the challenge of England’s Ross McGowan and Frenchman Michael Lorenzo-Vera, who would fill the top two places in the Rankings come the end of the season.
Dinwiddie is one of 13 Challenge Tour champions teeing up in Geneva in what is traditionally one of the most competitive events of the season, with the field comprised of the top 40 players in the Rankings, plus two sponsor’s invitations.
He will be joined by American Christopher Ryan Baker; Dutchman Floris de Vries; the English trio of Charlie Ford, Lee Slattery and Sam Walker; Australian Daniel Gaunt, who is making his first appearance of the season as a full Challenge Tour Member following his victory at the inaugural English Challenge; Scotsman George Murray; Dane Thorbjørn Olesen; Italian Alessandro Tadini; Colombian David Vanegas; Spaniard Alvaro Velasco; and big-hitting Austrian Bernd Wiesberger.
With €69,603 in prize money to his name Olesen is Dinwiddie’s closest challenger in the Rankings, and the in-form Dane will be keen to make amends after spurning a golden opportunity to overhaul the Englishman at the recent English Challenge, where he frittered away a four shot lead on the final day to allow Gaunt to steal in for his maiden Challenge Tour victory.
Other notable names in the field include England’s Jamie Elson, who is making his first Challenge Tour appearance since finishing in a tie for second place alongside Dinwiddie at the SAINT-OMER OPEN presented by Neuflize OBC; and teenage Italian sensation Matteo Manassero, who has fully recovered from the wrist injury which forced him to withdraw from the English Challenge.
Manassero was offered one of the two sponsor’s invitations, with the other taken by Julien Clément, the only home player in the field.
All 42 players will be hoping to match the success of recent Rolex Trophy winners Michael Jonzon, Alexander Noren and Marc Warren, who all followed up their triumphs at Golf Club de Genève with victories on The European Tour.
This year Rolex returns as title sponsors following a two-year break, during which time Sweden’s Klas Eriksson and Frenchman Julien Quesne – the latter on his 29th birthday – took the title in 2008 and 2009 respectively.
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