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Monday, 10 September 2018
Zhailjau Golf Resort (Phil Inglis) ()
Zhailjau Golf Resort (Phil Inglis) ()

The Road to Ras Al Khaimah has reached a critical juncture as the European Challenge Tour returns to one of its most popular events, the Kazakhstan Open presented by ERG. To get you up to speed, here are the key numbers surrounding the iconic tournament.

17- Challenge Tour winners from this season will tee it up in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

450,000- the prize fund, in euros, on offer this week, making the Kazakhstan Open presented by ERG the second most lucrative event all year. It could not come at a better time either, as Challenge Tour players begin the final sprint towards the top 15 on the Rankings.

29- of the top 30 on the Road to Ras Al Khaimah are in the field this week, as they fight to earn their European Tour card for next season. Only Kim Koivu is absent following his early graduation and three-win promotion onto the European Tour for the remainder of the 2018 season.

14- the number of consecutive years the Kazakhstan Open has been running. Notable past champions include three-time European Tour winner Edoardo Molinari, 2017 Race to Dubai Champion Tommy Fleetwood and last year’s Rankings winner Tapio Pulkkanen.

Tommy Fleetwood

4- the number of Ryder Cup players who have competed in the Kazakhstan Open. Molinari was on the winning side at The 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, and his brother Francesco will join Fleetwood on Team Europe this year in Paris. Martin Kaymer, who holed the winning putt for Europe at Medinah in 2012, competed in Kazakhstan in 2006, while three-time Major champion Brooks Koepka played in Almaty in 2012.

5- the number of Kazakhstan Open winners who have gone on to top the Rankings that same year. The first to accomplish the feat was Mark Pilkington in 2006, followed by Molinari in 2009, Alvaro Velasco in 2010, Fleetwood in 2011 and Pulkkanen last year.

3- the number of extra holes that were needed to decide the 2017 Kazakhstan Open. Pulkkanen and Chase Koepka, the brother of Brooks, were tied on 17 under par through 72 holes of regulation play. After sawing each other off with pars on the first two play-off holes, Koepka finally blinked, making bogey on the 18th hole to open the door for Pulkkanen, who secured his maiden Challenge Tour win with a par.

Tapio Pulkkanen

7,197- the length, in yards, of Zhailjau Golf Resort, the host course for this year’s Kazakhstan Open presented by ERG.

6- the number of times, including this year, that Zhailjau Golf Resort has hosted the event. The tournament has been played on a rotating basis with Nurtau Golf Club since its inception in 2005.

5- the number of par fives at Zhailjau Golf Resort. Normally players relish these additional birdie opportunities, but with four of them playing over 550 yards, and a collection of five par threes to offset them, there will be plenty of difficulty for the players to navigate this week.

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