- Ras Al Khaimah to host Challenge Tour Grand Final for the first time
- The Emirate has previously hosted the penultimate event of the season twice
- Challenge Tour season becomes the 'Road to Ras Al Khaimah'
The European Challenge Tour is thrilled to announce that its crucial season-ending tournament will this year move to a spectacular new location, when the Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour Grand Final takes place at Al Hamra Golf Club, in the United Arab Emirates, from Wednesday October 31 to Saturday November 3.
Ras Al Khaimah has hosted the penultimate event of the Challenge Tour season for the past two years at the stunning Peter Harradine-designed Al Hamra Golf Club, but its significance will increase to a whole new level when the Grand Final moves to the emirate following the signing of a three-year deal.
Sitting at the northern-most point of the United Arab Emirates, Ras Al Khaimah is one of seven emirates which make up the UAE and is just a 45-minute drive from Dubai.
The Grand Final is the last event of the tour’s global 29-tournament season, where the 45 highest-ranked players will battle it out for European Tour graduation by finishing inside the top 15 in the season-long Rankings.
Ras Al Khaimah has already become one of the most popular destinations on Europe’s top developmental tour with many memorable moments over the past two seasons.
In 2016 England’s Jordan Smith, now a European Tour winner, claimed his second title of the season to secure his position as 2016 Challenge Tour Number One, while last year Sweden’s Jens Dantorp produced a moment of magic by making an eagle in a play-off to take home the trophy – which in turn secured him a place on the European Tour for 2018.
As part of the new agreement, the Challenge Tour season will now be known as the ‘Road to Ras Al Khaimah’, with the emirate also contributing a bonus pool to the players finishing first, second and third in the Road to Ras Al Khaimah Rankings who will earn an extra €30,000, €20,000 and €10,000 respectively.
The Grand Final will boast a prize fund of €420,000, making it one of the most lucrative events on the Challenge Tour schedule.
It will be the sixth successive time the Grand Final has taken place in the region – having been held in Dubai and Oman for the past five seasons – with Ras Al Khaimah continuing to build on its vision of growing the game in the emirate.
Alain de Soultrait, Director of the European Challenge Tour, said: “For the past two years the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority has run with much success one of the most popular and entertaining tournaments on the Challenge Tour schedule, so it is fitting that they will now host the biggest event of our season, the Grand Final.
“Our players have been very complimentary of Al Hamra Golf Club, whether they are speaking of the challenging championship course or the excellent hospitality and service they received when visiting the emirate.
“We must extend our sincere thanks to the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority and its Chief Executive Officer Haitham Mattar for showing such drive in making the step up to hosting our most prestigious event, and we know they will provide an exemplary set-up worthy of our Grand Final.
“Thanks also go to The R&A and Rolex as without them it would not be possible to stage a tournament of such magnitude.”
Haitham Mattar, Chief Executive Officer of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said: “After hosting the penultimate Challenge Tour event in Ras Al Khaimah for the last two years, we are delighted to now host the Grand Final of the Challenge Tour’s Road to Ras Al Khaimah.
“Sports and adventure tourism is key to Ras Al Khaimah’s tourism development strategy and this prestigious golf event is an important addition to our events calendar that will inspire more golf enthusiasts to play where the professionals play.
“High profile events of this nature also help us attract an increasing number of international visitors and UAE residents who also want to experience everything Ras Al Khaimah has to offer. With our unique natural landscape of pristine beaches, terracotta desert and the UAE’s highest mountain range we cater to those looking for luxurious relaxation, culture or adventure.
“With the recent opening of Jebel Jais Flight: The World’s Longest Zipline in the stunning Hajar Mountains visitors will also have the opportunity to tick off a truly bucket list experience.
“Our hotel portfolio which includes high-end, luxury properties as well as family focused resorts is well placed to accommodate the visitors coming for golf, and with plans to significantly grow our choice of accommodation over the next five years, Ras Al Khaimah is truly a great place to combine watching sport with an exciting stay."