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Challenge Tour players set for the big time

Challenge Tour players set for the big time

Over a dozen European Challenge Tour players booked their tickets to the European Tour after coming through the grueling six-round marathon at European Tour Qualifying School Final Stage.

Benjamin Poke

The 13 Challenge Tour players were among 28 players to secure their European Tour cards on a thrilling final day at Lumine Golf Club, with Benjamin Poke storming away with the title and his 2020 playing privileges.

The Dane, who finished 29th on the season-long Road to Mallorca Rankings, led from the second round and kept his foot firmly on the accelerator, carding his best round of the tournament, a seven under par round of 64 on the final day to secure a six-shot victory over three-time European Tour winner and fellow Challenge Tour player Grégory Havret.

Poke will play his maiden European Tour season next year alongside his countryman Rasmus Højgaard, who closed with a pair of 66s to finish the week in fifth position. At 18 years old, Højgaard was the youngest player to make it through Final Stage and the first player born in the 2000s to earn a European Tour card via the Qualifying School process.

Benjamin Poke and Rasmus Hojgaard

Robin Sciot-Siegrist, meanwhile, overcame the disappointment of finishing 16th on the 2019 Road to Mallorca Rankings to secure his European Tour card for next season. The Frenchman had faced heartbreak at the Challenge Tour Grand Final just over a week ago after his putt to finish within the all-important top 15 places in the season-long Rankings slipped agonisingly past. He made no mistake at Lumine Golf Club, carding a three under par 68 on the sixth and final round of Final Stage to finish in eighth position, guaranteeing himself European Tour golf next season.

Challenge Tour players would occupy seven of the top ten spots on the leaderboard, with Canadian Aaron Cockerill, England’s Laurie Canter and Spain’s Carlos Pigem also successfully navigating their way through what is often considered to be one of golf’s toughest tests.

Dutchman Lars van Meijel, who clinched his maiden Challenge Tour title at the 2019 Hopps Open de Provence, and England’s Dale Whitnell, who also claimed his first win at the KMPG Trophy this season, will join them on the European Tour next year, with Whitnell’s compatriots Marcus Armitage, Dave Coupland, Garrick Porteous and Toby Tree also making the grade.

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