Benson currently lies in 30th place in the Challenge Tour Rankings as the race for the 20 European Tour cards on offer intensifies in what is the third-final tournament of the season.The 26 year old is hoping that a return to the country which yielded his second Challenge Tour victory will bolster his confidence as he looks to follow in the footsteps of Cabrera-Bello and Grace - whose win at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship last week confirmed the South African’s status as one of biggest rising stars in the game.
“I remember being three shots back going into the last round,” said Benson of the win in 2008. “It was a really windy, rainy day in the last round and I shot one under.
“I holed a really good putt on the second play-off hole for birdie after Cabrera- Bello had already made birdie. It was a tough putt and I hit it quite hard so luckily it hit the middle of the cup and that was a really important moment.“I always feel good about winning in a play-off and that win felt great. I’m feeling good about this year and this week and hopefully I can get another win under my belt before the end of the season.”
Having spent two full seasons on The European Tour, in 2009 and 2011, Benson believes he has what it takes to compete at the highest level and says that when he does return to the big time, he will be able to emulate the feats of multiple winners on the big stage, Grace and Cabrera-Bello, given the chance.“I suppose it’s a coincidence that I’m back here a week after what Branden did last week at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship,” said the Guildford native, who beat Lasse Jensen in a play-off for his third career victory at the Barclays Kenya Open last March.
“Fare play to Branden, he’s come on so much and I think he will go on and just get better and better."“A good push in the Rankings now would do lovely and set me up for next year and then I can kick on from there," he continued. "Just having three wins gives me a boost every week. Whenever I can draw on those experiences of winning it is a big benefit.
“Pretty much every time I have put myself in contention I have come out on top so the key for me is just getting myself to that stage.”
Benson is one of 11 winners from the 2012 Challenge Tour season present at the Graham Marsh-designed Kunetická Hora Golf Club this week, including winner of last week’s ALLIANZ Open de Lyon Chris Doak.As well as being a huge week for those in and around the top 20 mark, this week also marks an important opportunity for any players outside the top 45 in the Rankings to push into the reckoning for the season-ending Apulia San Domenico Grand Final.
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