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2023 Challenge Tour graduates enjoying fast start to Race to Dubai

2023 Challenge Tour graduates enjoying fast start to Race to Dubai

The Challenge Tour’s class of 2023 are enjoying a fast start to the 2024 DP World Tour season, with eight graduates currently inside the top 50 on the Race to Dubai Rankings through 18 weeks.

Matteo Manassero

Headlining that list are Sweden’s Jesper Svensson and Italian Matteo Manassero, who have both enjoyed statement wins on golf’s Global Tour.

Svensson started the season in fine form with a second-place finish at the Investec South African Open in December before a win at the Porsche Singapore Open – the 28-year-old’s first on the DP World Tour – helped him climb into the top ten. The Swede now lies in third position in the Race to Dubai Rankings heading into the European Swing, and is set to continue his meteoric rise by making a first major start this week at the PGA Championship.

Manassero’s return to the winner’s circle is arguably one of the stories of the year so far. The 31-year-old’s dominant three-stroke victory in the Jonsson Workwear Open in March marked the fifth time he has won on the DP World Tour, with his most recent victory coming over a decade after his last win at the BMW PGA Championship in May 2013. That result, coupled with two other top five finishes, sees the Italian lie 14th in the Rankings.

Ugo Coussaud finished fourth in the 2023 Road to Mallorca Rankings and has carried that form into his debut season on the DP World Tour. The Frenchman joins Svensson and Manassero in the top 20 after a second-place finish at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters and top 15 finishes at the Alfred Dunhill Championship and Bahrain Championship. He sits just ahead of compatriot Frederic Lacroix, who lies 23rd after three top tens in his first ten starts.

Also in the top 50 are a trio of 2023 graduates who have made a fast start to their rookie season in Englishman Sam Bairstow, Spaniard Manuel Elvira, and South African Casey Jarvis. They are joined by Switzerland’s Joel Girrbach, who catapulted into the top 50 after finishing third at the Volvo China Open earlier this month.

Fellow graduate Brandon Stone also enjoyed a successful time in China, with the South African’s seventh place finish lifting him to 64th in the rankings, while last year’s Road to Mallorca Number One Marco Penge sits eight spots behind after impressing during the Opening Swing.

Spaniard Ivan Cantero has bounced back after a challenging start to the year, putting together six top 50 finishes on the bounce – including a third-place finish at the ISPS Handa Championship and a tied 6th finish at the Jonsson Workwear Open – to sit just outside the top 50. Italians Andrea Pavan and Francesco Laporta round out the graduates in the top 100 in 87th and 90th place respectively.

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