The SWALEC Wales Challenge is to imitate The Open Championship by offering qualifying, so that any Welsh professional has the chance to follow in the footsteps of European Tour champion Rhys Davies.
Any Welsh professionals who are not otherwise eligible to play in the tournament will get their chance to claim one of three remaining places at the Qualifying event on the Wales National course at the Vale Hotel, Golf and Spa Resort near Cardiff, Wales, on Monday August 23 – two days before the start of the tournament.
Last year, Davies won the SWALEC Wales Challenge en route to finishing third in the final Rankings, which in turn secured him a first European Tour card. The Welshman has certainly made the most of his opportunities, claiming the Trophée Hassan II, a place in the top ten of The Race to Dubai Rankings and with it the possibility of berth in Europe’s Ryder Cup Team.
Craig Smith, Kyron Sullivan, Mark Laskey and Tim Dykes are the players who have already been given invitations to play a number of events on the Challenge Tour, including the SWALEC Wales Challenge.
Rob Holt, Ryder Cup Wales Chief Executive, said: “Rhys Davies competed in this event thanks to a Ryder Cup Wales invite, as he was playing on the Asian Tour at the time.
“He won in a play-off and secured a place on the Challenge Tour, which he used to gain a place on The European Tour. Since then he has gone from strength to strength, and he provides the perfect example to show what this event can do if you have the talent.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for Welsh professionals to compete in a top quality tournament in Wales.
We have already given invites to some Welsh professionals with a proven pedigree in the game, but that still leaves three invites available and we wanted to allocate them as fairly as possible.
“What could be better than a qualifying event, with all the drama and excitement that it will provide? Also, anyone who can show they are playing well so close to the event itself will have a good chance of carrying that form with them into the main event.
“Hopefully this will allow us to make the most of these unique opportunities for Welsh golf professionals to follow in the footsteps of Craig, Sion [Bebb] and Rhys.”
The chance to play in the SWALEC Wales Challenge, as well as a series of other events throughout Europe, is one of the benefits received by Wales as part of the country’s hosting The 38th Ryder Cup at The Celtic Manor Resort in the City of Newport from October 1-3.
Anyone wishing to enter qualifying for the SWALEC Wales Challenge must be a professional golfer and have Welsh nationality, either through birth, a Welsh parent or grandparent, or be deemed Welsh when entering professional events.
There are three places available, and entry costs £25. Forms are available from Ryder Cup Wales 2010 Ltd, either by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 02920 475231. The closing date for entries is Wednesday July 28.