The majority of the field in the Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Challenge hosted by Royal Golf Club will have to withstand more pressure than usual this week, as the tournament is the last chance to qualify for next week’s season-ending Apulia San Domenico Grand Final.
Only the top 45 in the Rankings make it to the climax to the 2012 campaign, meaning many players require nothing less than victory in Copenhagen.
Those on the bubble are set for an anxious few days, and Englishmen Charlie Ford and Steven Tiley – currently 46th and 47th respectively – will be hoping to edge over the line, while, conversely, Roope Kakko, Jeppe Huldahl and Andrew McArthur (45th, 44th and 43rd) will be aiming to cling on to their spots.
Ford said: “You obviously pay attention to where you are in the Rankings and what you need to do, but I’m treating this as just another week without putting any extra pressure on myself.
“I’ve been struggling recently, so I’m more conscious of what I’m trying to do with my game and doing to the right things than my result. If I concentrate on playing well, the rest should take care of itself.
“I’ve had a few swing issues that I’ve tried to fix and it hasn’t worked. But something has clicked in the last week so hopefully my game will come good at the right time.
“I started the season playing very well, but since then I’ve been shocking and I’m very disappointed to be in the position I’m in. Hopefully I’ve got two weeks to turn it around.”
There could be a change at the top of the Rankings too – for the first time since June – as Andreas Hartø, fresh from his victory last week and on home soil in Denmark, looks to topple England’s Gary Lockerbie, who leads by just €125.
Any of the top eight could go into next week’s finale as the Rankings leader with €22,400 on offer to the winner in Denmark, although Magnus A Carlsson, currently third, is not in the field, having already secured his European Tour card for 2013 through this year’s Race to Dubai.
The Swede’s 13th place finish at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship a fortnight ago ensured he will finish in the top 115 in The Race to Dubai, guaranteeing Category 8 for next season, and the 32 year old will be removed from the Challenge Tour Rankings at the end of the campaign.
Another Swede, Kristoffer Broberg, has returned to Challenge Tour action this week after his three wins earlier in the season earned him promotion to The European Tour. The 26 year old has made one cut from four appearances on the top tier, but has designs on signing off in style on the Challenge Tour, having won three times in four weeks earlier in the summer.
Broberg is currently fifth with €93,680, so would need two final good performances in order to follow Tommy Fleetwood as the Challenge Tour Number One.