Garcia Pinto claimed his maiden professional title at the Barclays Kenya Open in February, beating Tim Sluiter of The Netherlands in a tense finale at Karen Golf Club.It was an emotional victory for Garcia Pinto, who declined to play at the Qualifying School last December, citing a desire to graduate to The European Tour via the Challenge Tour as his reason.
The win moved Garcia Pinto to second in the Challenge Tour Rankings behind Shiv Kapur, the winner of the season-opening Gujarat Kensville Challenge in India.And having made the cut at the Open de España on The European Tour last week, the 23 year old will be in confident mood in the Spanish capital this week.
The €160,000 Challenge de Madrid marks the arrival of the Challenge Tour on European soil for the first time in 2013 and the inaugural event boasts an extremely strong field full of European Tour winners, Challenge Tour champions and promising young stars.Former Ryder Cup player Oliver Wilson makes his first Challenge Tour appearance of the season while three-time European Tour winner Kenneth Ferrie plays on the second tier for the first time in ten years.
Welshmen Rhys Davies and Bradley Dredge, both former winners on the top tier, are also present, as is Austrian Markus Brier, who has won twice each on the Challenge Tour and European Tour.
Alan Dunbar, meanwhile, will be hoping to make a successful professional debut after he joined the paid ranks this week, having grabbing the headlines as an amateur last year by winning the Amateur Championship at Royal Troon & Glasgow - Gailes Links.Young amateur Javier Ballesteros may well have the most famous surname in the field and the son of the late, great Seve will also be hoping to make an impression in what will be his debut in a European Tour-sanctioned event.