The first DP World Tour event of 2023, the Hero Cup, is under way and 15 of the 20 stars teeing it up in Abu Dhabi are former European Challenge Tour players.
Eight of the ten players from Continental Europe, captained by Francesco Molinari, and seven of the ten players from Great Britain and Ireland, led by Tommy Fleetwood, are former Challenge Tour players as they compete across three days of team match play at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.
There are two former Challenge Tour Number One’s in the Great Britain and Ireland side – Fleetwood and Jordan Smith. Fleetwood topped the Challenge Tour Rankings in 2011 to become the youngest winner of the Rankings in the Tour’s history at just 20-years-old, while countryman Smith won the Rankings in 2016 after two victories, including the Ras Al Khaimah, 2016 Golf Challenge.
Englishmen Tyrell Hatton, Callum Shinkwin and Richard Mansell and Scottish duo Ewen Ferguson and Robert MacIntyre are the other members of Great Britain & Ireland to be flying the Challenge Tour flag in Abu Dhabi. Ferguson finished eighth on the 2021 Road to Mallorca Rankings to earn graduation to the DP World Tour and he enjoyed a stellar 2022 season, claiming two victories on his way to finishing 17th on the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex.
Adrian Meronk, Thomas Pieters, Alex Noren, Antoine Rozner, Thomas Detry, Guido Migliozzi and Victor Perez are all former Challenge Tour players to be representing Continental Europe this week. Meronk made history by becoming the first Polish player to earn a DP World Tour card after he graduated from the Challenge Tour in 2019 and he has since become the first Pole to win on the DP World Tour with victories at the Horizon Irish Open and ISPS HANDA Australian Open at the start of this year.