The European Challenge Tour will travel to South Africa for the first time this season, with three new co-sanctioned events kick-starting the 2020 Road to Mallorca.
Staged in conjunction with The Sunshine Tour, the ‘South African Swing’ will commence with the Limpopo Championship from January 30 – February 2, 2020 before travelling to Cape Town and then George for the RAM Cape Town Open and Dimension Data Pro-Am respectively.
As the Challenge Tour prepares to visit new pastures, here is the lowdown on these exciting new events in the southern hemisphere.
South Africa will become the 51st country to host a Challenge Tour event when the US$250,000 Limpopo Championship gets the 2020 Road to Mallorca under way at Euphoria Golf & Lifestyle Estate and Koro Creek Bushveld Golf Estate.
Staged across the two venues in Limpopo, the northernmost province of South Africa, the Limpopo Championship will feature 95 players from each of the Challenge Tour and the Sunshine Tour, plus 14 invitations, with the tournament marking the first time that the two circuits have co-sanctioned an event.
The Limpopo Championship will offer an early opportunity for Challenge Tour members to secure early Road to Mallorca Ranking points, with 20 players, up from last year’s 15 graduates, set to secure European Tour cards following the season-ending Challenge Tour Grand Final.
RAM Cape Town Open
The second stop on the Road to Mallorca will arrive in South Africa’s Western Cape for the Cape Town Open, which, after eight consecutive seasons as a Sunshine Tour event, will take on co-sanctioned status for the first time.
Running from February 6-9, 2020, the tournament will be split across two venues in the iconic city — Royal Cape Golf Club and King David Mowbray Golf Club, Cape Town — with the 204-strong field vying for the lion’s share of the US$250,000 prize fund.
Welshman Rhys Enoch broke the tournament scoring record on his way to victory at the event in 2018, while three-time European Tour winner Brandon Stone has also won the title. Stone is among several South African players to have graduated from the Challenge Tour onto the European Tour, a list which includes Major Champions Louis Oosthuizen and Trevor Immelman as well as 2019 Scandinavian Invitation winner Erik van Rooyen.
Dimension Data Pro-Am
The three-tournament stretch will conclude at the Dimension Data Pro-Am, a long-standing Sunshine Tour event previously won by a host of Major Champions, including Darren Clarke, Immelmann, Retief Goosen, Paul Lawrie, Nick Price and Oosthuizen.
There will be plenty to play for at the prestigious Fancourt Estate, with the 180-player field not only competing for a split of the US$340,000 prize fund but also for a spot in the 2020 WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
The tournament will have a unique feel, with the first three days staged over the three courses at Fancourt Estate — The Links, The Montagu and The Outeniqua — before the leading players return to The Montagu course on the final day of action to contest the title. A 72-hole better-ball pro-am competition will run alongside the professional tournament, with Challenge Tour and Sunshine Tour players each teaming up with an amateur partner.