Field in Focus: at the Apulia San Domenico Grand Final

23/10/2012 09:44:52
San Domenico Golf is once again hosting the Challenge Tour's season finale (Phil Inglis) ()
San Domenico Golf is once again hosting the Challenge Tour's season finale (Phil Inglis) ()

europeantour.com takes a closer look at the field taking to San Domenico Golf for the Apulia San Domenico Grand Final this week from October 24-27.

In the field are:

18 players still mathematically in contention to be 2012 Challenge Tour Number One

After Swedish sensation Kristoffer Broberg ascended to the top of the 2012 Challenge Tour Rankings last week thanks to an astonishing fourth victory from just six starts this year in Denmark, 18 players are still mathematically in with a chance of being crowned Number One, down to the man currently ranked 18th in the 2012 standings in England’s Eddie Pepperell.

While Pepperell, who presently sits €54,130 behind leader Broberg, retains only the slimmest chance of topping the final rankings, a healthy winner’s cheque of €56,650 in Italy this week means the race to become Challenge Tour Champion for 2012 is wide open with one event to play.

Long-time leader, England’s Gary Lockerbie and Denmark’s Andreas Hartø, who surged up the rankings thanks to victory at the D+D Real Czech Challenge Open two weeks ago, perhaps retain the best chance of overhauling Broberg at San Domenico with the pair less than €5,000 behind.

Pos.

Player

Prize Money

Gap to #1

1

Kristoffer Broberg

 € 116,080

2

Andreas Hartø

 € 111,571  € 4,509

3

Gary Lockerbie

 € 111,542  € 4,538

4

Magnus A Carlsson

 € 105,922  € 10,158

5

Simon Wakefield

 € 105,614  € 10,466

6

Alessandro Tadini

 € 97,550  € 18,530

7

Alexandre Kaleka

 € 93,282  € 22,798

8

Joachim B Hansen

 € 90,660  € 25,420

9

Scott Henry

 € 88,477  € 27,603

10

Chris Doak

 € 82,302  € 33,778

11

Espen Kofstad

 € 74,449  € 41,631

12

Chris Paisley

 € 71,506  € 44,574

13

Gary Stal

 € 64,451  € 51,629

14

Mark Tullo

 € 63,972  € 52,108

15

Morten Orum Madsen

 € 63,308  € 52,772

16

Daniel Brooks

 € 62,747  € 53,333

17

Phillip Archer

 € 61,995  € 54,085

18

Eddie Pepperell

 € 61,950  € 54,130

45 players still with a shot at a European Tour card for 2013

With Sweden’s Magnus A Carlsson, who is fourth on the Rankings going into the Grand Final, having already secured his European Tour playing privileges for 2013 thanks to some sterling performances on The European Tour this season, the top 21 in the Challenge Tour rankings at the culmination of this week’s season-closer will gain a European Tour card for next season, and all 45 players on show in Italy still retain a chance of doing exactly just that.

Even 45th-placed James Busby still has a slim chance of making the all-important top 21 with €20,766 currently separating the Englishman from Argentina’s Daniel Vancsik, although Busby would need to finish in second place and for numerous other results to also go his way.

It’s all to play for in Savelletri, though, with less than €10,000 separating 21st-31st place in the current standings.

Pos.

Player

Prize Money

 Gap to #21

21

Daniel Vancsik

€ 58,691

45

James Busby

€ 37,925

€ 20,766

1 former Grand Final winner

Michael Lorenzo-Vera - 2007

2 multiple Challenge Tour winners from 2012

There is no doubt whatsoever as to the man of the moment on the Challenge Tour in 2012 and that is Swedish wonder Kristoffer Broberg. Having previously made his way on Scandinavian satellite tour the Nordic League, Broberg sprang into the limelight with victory in just his second Challenge Tour start at the Finnish Challenge in early August, before making it back-to-back triumphs after holing a 60 foot birdie putt in the second play-off hole at the Norwegian Challenge.

The 26 year old sealed an incredible rise to The European Tour – and a third victory in four weeks – at the Rolex Trophy and with it made history as the fastest player to earn automatic promotion to the top tier of European golf before returning to Challenge Tour duty last week in similarly dominant fashion with a fourth win of the year at the Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Challenge hosted by Royal Golf Club. Only Warren Bennett, who won five titles in 1998, surpasses Broberg now in terms of Challenge Tour success across one season and the prolific Swede will be looking to equal that feat this week in Italy.

Broberg is one of two multiple Challenge Tour winners from 2012 in the field at San Domenico, the other being Frenchman Gary Stal, who currently sits in 13th place in the rankings largely thanks to wins at the Kärnten Golf Open presented by Mazda in June and the following month’s Credit Suisse Challenge.

7 players that played in the 2011 Grand Final

Of the 45 in the field, there are seven players who played in the Grand Final last year, of which six currently rank better than they did going into the event last year.

Player

 2011  2012  Diff.

Chris Doak

36 10 +26

Espen Kofstad

31 11  +20

Lasse Jensen

43 24  +19

Phillip Archer

32 17  +15

Alessandro Tadini

17  +11

Chris Lloyd

29 27  +2

Sam Walker

22 41  -19

14 players with 5 or more top-ten finishes on the 2012 Challenge Tour

Player

2012 Top Tens

Andreas Hartø

8

Alessandro Tadini

7

Alexandre Kaleka

6

Gary Lockerbie

6

Peter Uihlein

6

Kristoffer Broberg

6

Espen Kofstad

6

Daniel Vancsik

5

Chris Paisley

5

Justin Walters

5

Joachim B Hansen

5

Simon Wakefield

5

Daniel Brooks

5

Mikko Korhonen

5

17 different nationalities represented

ARG

Argentina

1
AUTAustria1
Chile1
DENDenmark5
England12
Finland2
France
GERGermany 1
ITAItaly 3
KORKorea1
NEDNetherlands1
Norway1
SCOScotland 4
RSASouth Africa
1
ESPSpain2
SWESweden3
USA United States 2

11 Challenge Tour rookies playing in the Grand Final

There are 11 players taking to San Domenico this week who are at the end of their first full seasons on the Challenge Tour, four of whom are currently in position to gain promotion to The European Tour next year in their first attempts.

Aside from 2012 phenomenon Broberg, Denmark’s Joachim B Hansen heads the rookie fray going into the Grand Final in eighth place presently after a fine debut season that has yielded five top five finishes, while France’s Gary Stal (13th), Denmark’s Morten Orum Madsen (15th) and England’s Eddie Pepperell (18th) are the other first-timers currently in position to progress following this week’s showpiece in Italy.

Justin Walters, Alexander Levy, Peter Uihlein, Sihwan Kim, Brooks Koepka and James Busby are the other rookies that have succeeded in making it to the Grand Final at the first attempt.

28 players with 47 Challenge Tour victories between them

In one of the strongest Grand Final fields in years, almost 60 per cent taking to San Domenico this week have previously tasted victory on the Challenge Tour.

Kristoffer Broberg and Alessandro Tadini are the most successful Members in the field in this week, both of whom have four wins to their name.

While Broberg has accrued his triumphant quartet in the space of but three months, the Italian’s first Challenge Tour scalp came back in 2004 at the Costa Rica Open, with further victories coming in 2008, 2010, and earlier this year at the ECCO Tour Championship hosted by Thomas Björn & Mercedes-Benz.

A further five of the 45-man field have a hat-trick of Challenge Tour wins under their belts: Phillip Archer, Seve Benson, Andreas Hartø, Daniel Vancsik and Sam Walker.