The penultimate stop on the Road to Mallorca has arrived in the form of the Foshan Open, held at Foshan Golf Club from October 24-27. With the biggest prize fund of the season, we have picked out five things you need to know ahead of the action getting under way.
This week’s tournament represents the biggest prize fund on the European Challenge Tour International Schedule, with players competing for US$500,000. The winner will take home around $70,000 and, more importantly, pick up a similar number of Rankings points on the Road to Mallorca, which could be crucial in the bid to earn graduation to the European Tour.
Ticket to the European Tour
Talking of the bid to earn graduation to the European Tour, this week could not be more important. Last year’s winner Victor Perez leapt from outside the top 15 to second in the Rankings after securing victory, while runner-up Robert MacIntyre climbed into the top 15 from 34th, which shows the importance of a good performance this week.
For example, the lowest ranked player in the field this week is Alex Knappe. Should the German win at Foshan Golf Club, he will, depending on the finishing positions of other players, move from 89th on the Road to Mallorca to the cusp of the top 15.
Last chance saloon
The Foshan Open is the last event before the Challenge Tour Grand Final at Club de Golf Alcanada, Mallorca, and offers players the final opportunity to book their place at the season-ending event. Only the top 45 players on the Road to Mallorca at the conclusion of the Foshan Open will tee it up in the Challenge Tour Grand Final, meaning the plethora of players currently outside that mark have it all to do this week to secure a spot in the field. Last year, Dutchman Darius van Driel secured his place in the season-ending finale after a tie for fifth place saw him jump from 51st to 32nd with 59,006 points.
This one needs no introduction. The 2018 Foshan Open will live long in the memory thanks to the actions of two people; MacIntyre and Perez. They both holed incredibly long putts on the 72nd hole – MacIntyre for eagle and Perez for birdie – to reach a play-off, where the Frenchman eventually reigned supreme. Sit back and watch…
China’s Liu Yanwei took up affiliate membership of the Challenge Tour following last week’s Hainan Open, where he finished in a tie for fifth as the leading Chinese players. As he became a member, his Rankings points therefore counted on the Road to Mallorca and he immediately reached 86th position. If he finishes in the top five at Foshan Golf Club, he will book a spot in the Challenge Tour Grand Final next month.