There was double cause for celebration at the Turkish Airlines Challenge yesterday as not only did Clément Sordet seal a second professional victory, but also the tournament itself was confirmed to continue on the Challenge Tour schedule for at least another three years.
Ahmet Agaoglu, president of the Turkish Golf Federation, met with Challenge Tour Director Alain de Soultrait at Gloria Golf Club – where the New Course will again host next year’s event – to reaffirm the strong relationship between the two organisations.
As part of the new agreement, there will also be a rise in next year’s total prize money, bringing it to €200,000, with another intention being to encourage golf tourism in the north of Turkey by staging the 2018 and 2019 tournaments in Samsun.
“We agreed to extend the Turkish Airlines Challenge for another three years,” said Mr Agaoglu. "In 2017 we will play at the Gloria New Course but we are planning to play in Samsun after that.
“We will open a new golf course, a links course, in the north of Turkey there and it will be a municipal course, the first of its kind in the country, which we hope will help develop golf in the country and set a good example to the mayors of other major cities.
“I think the Challenge Tour should be an obligation of all the major golf federations in Europe. On the one hand it promotes golf, and it allows players to develop their skills and prepare for European Tour events – it is the only way for these young professionals and amateurs to reach the right level.
“This is why myself and the federation feel it is so important to continue with the Challenge Tour event here and, if there is a possibility, we would like to do two Challenge Tour events in future, one in the spring and one in the autumn.
“If Samsun is successful we will keep a tournament there and do another one in the south here in Antalya, that is the hope, because this will encourage our youngsters to compete to a high standard and improve.
“I must say big thanks to Turkish Airlines. They are not only our title sponsors but they are the biggest supporters of golf in this country and around the globe.”
Mr de Soultrait said: “We are delighted to be leaving Turkey with such good news about our future tournaments here, and I must thank the federation for their commitment to our Tour and Turkish Airlines for their support.
“This week once again was an excellent tournament, well organised and with Gloria Golf Club ensuring the course and the set up were of the highest standard.
“The Challenge Tour is proud of the important role it plays in growing the game globally and to see tournaments like this improve every year is heartening for us – we cannot wait to return next year.”