Davies makes Challenge Tour return in India

28/01/2013 09:30:14
Rhys Davies  (Getty Images)
Rhys Davies (Getty Images)

Rhys Davies makes his return to the Challenge Tour at the Gujarat Kensville Challenge this week as the Welshman attempts to bounce back to The European Tour.

Davies confirmed his status as one of the biggest prospects in European golf in 2010 when, following a stellar amateur career and just a year after a meteoric rise through the Challenge Tour ranks, he claimed a first European Tour victory at the prestigious Tropheé Hassan II.

The 27 year old subsequently finished 18th in The Race to Dubai Rankings that year and was handed a supporting role to The 2010 European Ryder Cup Team at The Celtic Manor Resort in his home country.

The Edinburgh-born man added another string to his bow in 2011 when he partnered Jamie Donaldson in representing Wales at the Omega Mission Hills World Cup before finishing 56th that season in The Race to Dubai.

But he could not match those heights in 2012 and narrowly failed to retain his European Tour card, so will now draw on memories of a hugely successful 2009 season on the Challenge Tour to inspire his return to the top tier.

Davies, who could also have pursued a professional cricket career, burst on to the Challenge Tour scene with victory in the 2009 Wales Challenge – on an invite – before claiming another title at the Challenge de España en route to a fourth place finish in the Rankings.

His journey back to the top begins this week as he joins a strong field for the first tournament of the 2013 Challenge Tour season, and he is by no means the only big name making the journey to the Indian city of Ahmedabad for the third edition of the Gujarat Kensville Challenge.

Rich Beem, the 2002 US PGA Championship winner, makes his Challenge Tour debut, becoming only the second player Major winner to play a Challenge Tour event, following Paul Lawrie, the 1999 Open Champion, who played in the Scottish Hydro Challenge hosted by Macdonald Hotels and Resorts in 2009.

Former US Amateur Champions Byeong-hun An and Peter Uihlein return to the venue where they both made their Challenge Tour debuts in 2012, while European Tour winners in the field include José-Filipe Lima, Raymond Russell and Daniel Vancsik.

India’s current top player and rising star, Gaganjeet Bhullar, also returns to the tournament he wonin 2011 after an incredible 2012 season on the Asian Tour which yielded two wins and elevated him to 89th place in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Another home favourite, Shiv Kapur, will also attempt to make it two Indian winners in four years, while Rahil Gangjee will be hoping to go one better this season having been beaten to the 2012 title in a play-off by Germany’s Max Kieffer.