Wednesday, 30 October 2013
Nacho Elvira (pic by Richard Castka) ()
Nacho Elvira (pic by Richard Castka) ()

As the season builds to a frenetic climax at the Dubai Festival City Challenge Tour Grand Final hosted by Al Badia Golf Club, there will be plenty for two particular players to fight for as they look to ensure their place on The European Tour in 2014.

Nacho Elvira currently occupies that all important 15th place in the Rankings thanks to a strong second half of the season that has seen him finish in the top ten on five of his last seven starts.

This impressive run of form has also included a maiden Challenge Tour win, which came a fortnight ago at the Foshan Open, where Elvira sank a nerveless 12 foot putt for victory at the last hole in China to claim a tense one shot victory over the second placed trio of Tyrrell Hatton, Shiv Kapur and Sam Walker.

Cue an impressive fist pump from the Spaniard as his ball found the cup on the 18th green, an image that will no doubt be one of the more enduring from this season.

Elvira is therefore one to watch in Dubai for a number of reasons, and with the form that he is in, there is every chance he will be in the hunt for this title come Sunday and in doing so earn a maiden sojourn on The European Tour.

“I’m in 15th place at the moment, and obviously I’m happy about that,” explained Elvira. “But I’m not too worried about it and we’ll just see how this week goes. The main goal was to get into this tournament and play this week, give myself a chance, and I did it.

“In China I was trying to make the top 45 on the Rankings so I could get into this tournament, and I wasn’t really thinking of winning, so it was a big turnaround for me, and now I am thinking about my European Tour card.

“Everybody is looking for the 15th spot, and I’m looking to move forward if I can, and I think everyone has a chance to get their card here so if I can get a top five that would be great.

“It would mean the world to me to get my European Tour card, it would mean the world to anybody who is looking to play this game for a living. I’m trying not to get too caught up in it, just enjoy the moment; but it would be awesome.”

Elvira will certainly be hard pushed to keep his place in that all important top 15 in the Rankings, especially when you consider that anyone in the 44 strong field could still qualify for The European Tour with a solid finish.

One man who is sure to be hot on the Spaniard’s heels will be Marco Crespi who currently resides one place lower, at 16th place on the season long list.

This is already the Italian’s best season on the Challenge Tour to date, and while conceding that the course is not ideal for his style of play, he still remains confident of securing a top 15 berth come close of play on Sunday.

"I'm feeling good," said Crespi. "I have been playing well the last two weeks, had good tournaments, so I just need to keep going at my pace and see what happens.

“I have played some more tournaments this year compared to previous years, which might explain why this is my best season in eight years on the Challenge Tour. Overall I have just played better, not much else.

“The course doesn’t quite suit my game to be honest as the fairways are wide and the greens are quite big, and there are a couple of really long holes so I will just have to play my game and try to hole some putts.”

There are sure to be winners and losers come Sunday evening in the race for a European Tour spot, that much is guaranteed, but it will make for an enthralling four days of action as the sun sets on another superb Challenge Tour season.

Follow all the action from Al Badia Golf Club by InterContinental and the Grand Final courtesy of our Live Blog, which will be up and running from first thing on Thursday morning.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1KAPUR, ShivIND18-16
T2MCLEARY, JamieSCO18-12
T2LIMA, José-FilipePOR18-12
T4DAVIES, RhysWAL18-11
T4PAVAN, AndreaITA18-11
T6DUBOIS, EdouardFRA18-10
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