The Kazakhstan Open thus continues its proud tradition of having carried the largest prize fund on the Challenge Tour Schedule in each year since its inception in 2005, when the purse was €250,000. Indeed, the size of the prize is such that in all five years since that inaugural event the winner has progressed onto The European Tour, with last year’s champion Edoardo Molinari of Italy – whose winner’s cheque for €64,000 helped him smash the record for earnings in a season – following in the spikemarks of Gary Lockerbie of England, Sweden’s Leif Westerberg, Wales’ Mark Pilkington and Ireland’s Stephen Browne, who triumphed in 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2005 respectively. The event also helped launch the career of rising star Martin Kaymer, who finished in a tie for third at the 2006 Kazakhstan Open. His cheque for €18,000 helped Kaymer to fourth in the final Challenge Tour Rankings and the young German has since taken The European Tour by storm, capturing five titles and finishing third in the 2009 money list. Similarly, top 12 finishes at the 2005 Kazakhstan Open helped England’s Ross Fisher and Argentina’s Andres Romero secure graduation from the Challenge Tour and, like Kaymer, both men have since become European Tour champions.