Each year, European Challenge Tour Members vie for a life-changing top 15 spot on the Order of Merit and one way of securing graduation to the European Tour is by recording positive results in the end of season ‘Chinese Swing’.
The Hainan Open takes place from October 17-20 and will present players with the first of two huge opportunities to leap up the season-long rankings before the two-legged Chinese stint is brought to a close at the Foshan Open a week later.
Last year, Finland’s Kalle Samooja cemented his place in the top 15 with victory at the Hainan Open as he jumped from tenth to second, securing his place on the European Tour with two events remaining in the season.
It is not just victory which equals graduation, however, as shown by Sean Crocker in 2018. The American finished third in Sanya City and in doing so jumped from 36th to 17th on the Order of Merit and sat on the cusp of the top 15 with two events to play.
Alexander Knappe won the inaugural event in 2016, en route to a third place finish in the Challenge Tour Rankings, seeing him graduate to the European Tour, and Erik van Rooyen followed suit 12 months later with the same circumstances. Victory at Hainan saw him cement his place in the top ten before ending the season in third place to graduate to the European Tour.