The Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Challenge hosted by Royal Golf Club will serve as a homecoming of sorts this week as Denmark’s European Tour-bound players return for the penultimate tournament of the season.
This year has been an extremely fruitful one for the Challenge Tour’s Danish contingent with three of the country’s most promising stars – Andreas Hartø, Joachim B Hansen and Morten Orum Madsen – currently lying in the top 20 of the Rankings.
Last week Hartø moved into second spot in the Rankings with victory in the D+D Real Czech Challenge Open, and he will now aim to follow in the footsteps of Tommy Fleetwood, Alvaro Velasco, Edoardo Molinari and David Horsey by finishing the season as the Challenge Tour’s Number One.
Hartø’s victory was the first for Denmark this season, during which the 24 year old has been in the top ten of the Rankings for much of the time.
Hansen and Madsen have also enjoyed hugely successful debut campaigns on the Challenge Tour, finishing runner-up and tied 15th respectively in the Czech Republic to move up to eighth and 15th in the Rankings.
Madsen will be aiming for a strong performance on home soil to guarantee finishing in the all-important top ten of the Rankings, thus ensuring more playing opportunities on The European Tour next year, while their compatriot Lasse Jansen has it all to do to improve on his current 23rd place and join his countrymen at golf’s top tier in 2013.
The recent news that the second-last tournament of the season will take place in Copenhagen was just another welcome boost for the close-knit Danes.
The venue was confirmed only two weeks ago after the severe drought in Italy meant that the course hosting the Mugello Tuscany Open was unplayable, and it will provide the perfect setting as the battle to qualify for the season-ending Apulia San Domenico Grand Final reaches its climax.
Only the top 45 players in the Rankings will play in the lucrative finale in Puglia, Italy next week, so English duo Charlie Ford and Steven Tiley (currently 46th and 47th) need to finish well in Denmark to ensure they book their spots.
Rankings leader Gary Lockerbie returns to Challenge Tour action and has Hartø hot on his heels, just €125 behind, while Germany’s Max Kieffer will hope to consolidate his position in the top 20 after finishing in tied fourth place last week, thanks in part to a course-record third round of 63.
Alessandro Tadini also performed admirably in the Czech Republic, finishing seventh, and he will hope to claim a second title in Denmark this season after winning the ECCO Tour Championship hosted by Thomas Bjørn and Mercedes-Benz last month.