Thursday, 01 August 2013
Brandon Stone  (Getty Images)
Brandon Stone (Getty Images)
Brandon Stone left college in the USA as one of the hottest prospects in world amateur golf and he is relishing his new surroundings on the European Challenge Tour after the young South African made a stunning start to his debut at the Finnish Challenge.

At just 20 years of age, Stone arrives on the European scene with a reputation that belies his years after amassing a total of 18 titles as an amateur and receiving the 2012 Phil Mickelson Award as the top freshman in American college golf.

He made his debut as a professional at the BMW International on The European Tour in June, where he finished tied tenth and, although he followed that incredible start with two missed cuts at the Irish Open and Alstom Open de France, a seven under par first round 65 at the Finnish Challenge has filled him full of confidence.

“I feel great,” he said. “My dad is on the bag this week and helping me feel a little bit more settled so that’s been fantastic.

“I played the BMW International in Germany and finished top ten there, but then missed the cuts at the Irish Open and French Open so it’s nice to get a good round again here and get some momentum going.

“There’s a lot to play for this week. That’s the reason this tour is so good, the players are phenomenal and they grind through the good and bad weather. It’s a bit of an adjustment for me, having to play with some many good players. It’s going to be fun and I'm really looking forward to the rest of the season, really happy and really positive and enjoying my life on tour so far.”

Stone has high expectations for his career and for the remainder of the season but knows it will be no easy task reaching the peak of European golf.

“I'm definitely looking to get playing status on The European Tour for next year,” he said. “I have maximum five more tournaments to do that through the main tour itself but then getting a good finish in a few Challenge Tour events can get me a card that way. So you never really know, you have to take it as it comes and get on the first tee and try shoot as low as you can.

“The Challenge Tour is different because, in college golf there are some fantastic golfers, but here there are more great golfers. It’s a big jump, where instead of having 20-25 guys who can win every week, everybody in the field is capable of winning the tournament.

“You have to take it as it comes and try shoot low, because you know there is a guy who can match you. I feel like I have the game and I have worked on the right things throughout my career so I don’t feel like I need to change anything, which is a big positive for me. I think going forward that will really benefit me in the future.”

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
T1JOANNES, HuguesBEL00:00-
T1BOSSERT, AndréSUI00:00-
T1MATTILA, RikuFIN00:00-
T1NØRRET, ThomasDEN00:00-
T1DAHLGREN, NiklasFIN00:00-
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