Ahead of this week’s Challenge de Catalunya, europeantour.com has picked out a few faces to keep an eye on at Lumine Golf & Beach Club as the season gathers pace towards a summer chocked full of top class golf in the race to earn a place on The Race to Dubai.
Having earned his European Tour card in a fine display at last November’s Qualifying School Final Stage, just up the road at PGA Catalunya Resort in Girona, the American has already had some success on The Race to Dubai after a tie for 37th at the Trophée Hassan II. After 36 holes the Floridian was in the top ten and pressing for a maiden title, but having fallen away slightly over the weekend, Arendell continued his fine form a fortnight later with a top 20 finish at the co-sanctioned NH Collection Open in Sotogrande. As he returns to Spanish soil he will no doubt feel confident of turning in another fine performance and is therefore one to watch out for this week.
This Frenchman returns to the country whose name he shares looking to replicate the kind of form that almost saw him gain a European Tour card up the road in Girona last year. Espana lead the way after 18 holes at PGA Catalunya Resort before falling away on the final day to miss out by just a single stroke at the Qualifying School Final Stage. His form so far has been modest, with a tie for 46th at the Barclays Kenya Open his best showing from two starts, but he has shown plenty of promise in the past to suggest he is one to watch. The 24 year old played well on the satellite Alps Tour last year, finishing third on their Order of Merit, in a season where he also registered two top tens on the Challenge Tour itself.
Jordi Garcia Pinto
Renowned as a strong starter, Garcia Pinto is once again on top of the Challenge Tour Rankings at this early stage in the season, following on from 2013 when he picked up a maiden triumph at the Barclays Kenya Open to lead the way then as well. He owes his top spot this season to a fine runner up finish at the NH Collection Open a few weeks ago and returns to his home in Catalunya looking to extend his advantage with another strong performance. Last season Garcia Pinto gradually fell away as the season progressed, eventually finishing 24th on the Rankings, and he will hope to be able to maintain this top form for longer this year as he attempts to earn a maiden sojourn on The Race to Dubai.
Hailing from Madrid, this Spaniard has improved his Challenge Tour Ranking year on year since 2010, and has made a very fast start to 2014 thanks to a second placed finish at the Barclays Kenya Open. Last year Oriol posted a couple of top ten finishes en route to finishing 63rd on the season long list, but currently resides fifth after his explosive start. Playing on home soil will no doubt prove a great fillip for the 27 year old as he looks to continue his best form this week at Lumine Golf & Beach Club, and in a field chocked full of home talent, he could be the cream that rises to the top come Sunday afternoon.
Follow all of the action from Thursday on europeantour.com with live scoring and reports throughout the week.
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