At the close of entries, players from 21 countries had committed to the tournament, which will be co-sanctioned by the European Challenge Tour and the China Golf Association.
“This is fantastic news,” said Keith Hardman, General Manager of Foshan Golf Club. “Not only have we got players coming from all over the world, we also have a great mix of stars of the future and past winners on The European Tour. I’m very happy to welcome Nick Dougherty, a three-time winner on The European Tour, and Oliver Wilson, who played in The 2008 Ryder Cup. It’s wonderful that they are making the trip here.”
The Challenge Tour is the development tour for the highly-lucrative European Tour, which offers in excess of US$50 million prize money annually. With only 15 players graduating from the Challenge Tour this season, competition is intense.
“There are so many very good players from around the world competing on the Challenge Tour now that you have to play superbly across a lot of events to make the top 15,” said Alain de Soultrait, Director of the Challenge Tour.
“In recent years, we’ve seen amazing talents such as Martin Kaymer, Justin Rose, Louis Ousthuizen and Ian Poulter coming through the Challenge Tour. All of those went on to either win a Major or become a Ryder Cup hero. No doubt there will be some players competing at the Foshan Open who will go on to win some of golf’s most prestigious titles.”
Just US$30,000 currently separates Andrea Pavan in first place and Jason Barnes in 45th place in the Rankings and, with US$350,000 on offer at Foshan, it is likely that there will be dramatic swings in the fortunes of some players.
“The Foshan Open is one of the top five events on the Challenge Tour in terms of prize money, and it also happens to be one the final three events of the season,” said Hardman.
“So it’s a vitally important week for players’ futures and is why 44 out of the leading 45 players on the Challenge Tour will make the trip here. This will be the biggest international pro golf event in southern China this year.”
The inaugural Foshan Open takes place at the recently renovated Foshan Golf Club in Guangdong Province, China, from October 17-20.