Maximilian Kieffer (Getty Images)
After a dream start to his debut European Tour season, German rookie Max Kieffer is showing the other 2012 graduates the way as The 2013 Race to Dubai continues.
Kieffer, who qualified for The European Tour thanks to a 14th place finish in the 2012 Challenge Tour Rankings, has amassed earnings of €242,819 so far in 11 appearances, a figure that sees the Touring Professional from G&CC Fleesensee – a European Tour Destination - riding high at 44th in The Race to Dubai and leading the challenge to become the 2013 Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year.
The 22 year old got his inaugural campaign underway in fine fashion with a tied fourth finish in the weather-curtailed Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa before five further top 30 finishes preceded Kieffer’s most memorable moment to date on the top tier of European golf.
After rounds of 75-68-69-71 were enough to put him in a three-way play-off with Felipe Aguilar and Raphael Jacquelin three weeks ago at the Open de España, Kieffer contended in an epic and record-equalling contest which Jacquelin, who like Kieffer is attached to a European Tour Destination in Terre Blanche, eventually won on the ninth extra hole.
It was a case of so near, yet so far for the German in Valencia, but it was a performance that solidified Kieffer’s status as the one to watch from the 2012 crop of graduates from both the Challenge Tour and the Qualifying School.
With the season progressing apace, europeantour.com took an overview of how the graduates are faring in 2013…
Best performances by Challenge Tour graduates:
Kristoffer Broberg – second Alfred Dunhill Championship
Max Kieffer – tied second Open de España (involved in the nine hole play-off), tied fourth Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa
Morten Orum Madsen – tied fourth Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa, tied eighth Tshwane Open
Mark Tullo – tied fifth Africa Open
Andreas Harto – tied seventh Volvo China Open
Espen Kofstad – tied eighth Open de Espana
Best performances by Qualifying School graduates:
Eduardo de la Riva – tied second Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa (lost play-off to Scott Jamieson)
Andy Sullivan – tied third Alfred Dunhill Championship, tied fifth Africa Open, tied ninth Commercial Bank Qatar Masters
Matthew Nixon – tied fourth – Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa
Bjorn Akesson – tied fifth Tshwane Open, tied eighth Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa
Matthew Southgate – tied eighth Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa.
Eddie Pepperell – tied eighth Open de Espana
Matteo Delpodio – tied eighth Open de Espana
The leading candidates so far for the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year are:
Max Kieffer – 44th - €242,818
Kristoffer Broberg – 53rd - €212,174
Bjorn Akesson – 88th - €102,392
Morten Orum Madsen – 97th - €85,568
Eddie Pepperell – 99th - €83,347