The addition of the Challenge Provincia di Varese, one of four new events on the Challenge Tour this season, has taken the tally of tournaments on the completed 2012 schedule to 27.
With the English Challenge now confirmed to return to Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa in Essex, England, from July 26-29, the nine-month season contains two more events than the 2011 schedule.
The Challenge Provincia di Varese, which takes place at Golf Club Varese in Luvinate from June 27-30, will mark the first of four visits to Italy this year.
The historic Golf Club Varese, which boasts spectacular views of Lake Varese and both the Monte Rosa and Campo dei Fiori mountain ranges, was built in 1932 in the grounds of the Monastery of Luvinate, which dates back to the 12th Century.
The €160,000 tournament marks the Challenge Tour’s debut visit to Varese, located some 50km north of Milan in the Lombardy region of north-west Italy.
Three weeks later, the Challenge Tour returns to the Puglia region of southern Italy for the second edition of the Acaya Golf Open.
Last season, the 6,855 yards (6,267 metres), par 72 course at Acaya Golf Resort, in Lecce, drew wide praise from the Challenge Tour Membership, with winner Jamie Moul labelling it “the best course of the year” after he had edged out South African Branden Grace and Spain’s Jorge Campillo – both of whom now compete alongside Moul on The European Tour.
The following week, Moul’s home club at Stoke-by-Nayland will for the third successive season host the English Challenge, which will again be supported by the English Golf Union.
The two remaining events played on Italian soil this year will take place at the end of the campaign, with the Mugello Tuscany Open moving to October 18-21, the week before the season-ending Apulia San Domenico Grand Final returns to San Domenico Golf, in Puglia.
For the third successive season, Poggio dei Medici Golf Club in Scarperia, Florence, will host the Mugello Tuscany Open, which was won in previous years by Frenchman Anthony Snobeck (2011) and Dutchman Floris de Vries (2010).
With the 2012 Challenge Tour season again culminating at the €330,000 Apulia San Domenico Grand Final from October 24-27, the Mugello Tuscany Open represents the players’ final chance of securing one of the 45 places available at the season finale.
Alain de Soultrait, Director of the European Challenge Tour, said: “With the addition of the Challenge Provincia de Varese and the confirmation of the English Challenge taking our tally of tournaments to 27 in 18 different nations, the Challenge Tour Schedule remains very competitive this year, with two more events than in 2011.
“The Italian Golf Federation has been a very strong supporter of the Challenge Tour down the years, and we are delighted to host three regular tournaments and the Apulia San Domenico Grand Final in Italy this year.
“We are very excited about hosting an event in Varese for the first time and are also looking forward to returning to Florence and Puglia in Italy, and Stoke by Nayland in England. Our Members always enjoy playing in different places and in different conditions, and the numerous and varied playing opportunities available on this year’s schedule should please everyone.”