Englishman Chris Gane will rekindle memories of last year’s performance in the Madeira Islands Open – Portugal when he tees it up at Santo da Serra Golf this week.
The 37 year old was tied second as a Challenge Tour player at Porto Santo Golfe 12 months ago and the €43,425 prize money made up the majority of his season earnings of €64,448, which was enough for him to finish 19th in the Rankings and earn a European Tour card for 2012.
His performance is the perfect example of how the Madeira Islands Open – Portugal is like a Major on the Challenge Tour schedule.
“I had been playing really badly, but that week everything just clicked,” said Gane. “And that result meant I got my card at the end of the season. It was great.
“The prize money is so much greater this week and in Saint Omer (the Saint Omer Open presented by Neuflize OBC) so it’s massive for Challenge Tour players and for players like me who have a lower ranking and need to do well in the re-rank.
“It’s been a frustrating start to the year, because I haven’t played in enough events. The Sicilian Open was the first time I’d played an event in two months and I had a triple bogey at the very first hole.
“This week is crucial event because if I do well, I’ll probably play the rest of the season on the Challenge Tour. Hypothetically, if I won €20,000 this week I wouldn’t be in the top 20 of the re-rank, but I’d be in the top 20 of the Challenge Tour Rankings.”
The Kent man is well prepared for the mixed weather at Santo da Serra Golf, which sits high on the top of the island and can have four seasons in one day, and is focused on producing another fine performance in the event.
“I’ve played here many times – it’s a beautiful course, especially the third and fourth holes,” he said. “When the wind blows it can get very interesting. It’s a unique one in that play can be suspended at the top of the hill because you can’t see your hand in front of your face for fog, but down the hill the holes are fine and the guys are still playing.
“You get every type of weather here. It’s probably the only course in the world where the wind blows upwards. It’s unpredictable but I know the course well and hopefully I can play well again."