It is a big week on the European Challenge Tour as the English Trophy presented by Rocket Yard Sports Marketing gets under way at Frilford Heath Golf Club, with the final chance to earn a spot in the Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final supported by The R&A at stake. Here are your three to watch…
Kiwi Daniel Hillier has returned to form with aplomb in recent weeks, with his second European Challenge Tour victory arriving at last month’s Swiss Challenge. He followed that with a fourth place at the Hopps Open de Provence and a tie for 11th at last week’s British Challenge. The 24-year-old, who narrowly missed out on his DP World Tour card in 2021 but is guaranteed to make the step up this year as he currently sits seventh with two events to go. He now has his sights set on the Number One spot as he sits just 17,400 points off Rankings leader JC Ritchie.
Englishman Jonathan Thomson has not, to date, had the season he would have hoped for but all is not lost for the man known as Jigger, as he currently sits 72nd on the Rankings. The 26-year-old has two top tens to his name in 2022 – at the Challenge de España and Swiss Challenge – but will be feeling confident ahead of this week’s challenge. Thomson has spent many an hour playing at Hollinwell Golf Club, another heathland course in the East Midlands in England, where he earned a Major Championship debut after coming through Final Qualifying for The 149th Open in 2021.
Four-time DP World Tour winner Matteo Manassero had a promising start to the season with back-to-back top tens in South Africa, but has since experienced indifferent form, with just two further top tens in the Empordà Challenge and the Irish Challenge. Since that tie for fifth at The K Club, the Italian has not finished higher than 39th, which came in his last start at the Hopps Open de Provence. He is 63rd on the Road to Mallorca Rankings but with a proven history of winning knowhow, he could spring a surprise and burst into the top 45 with a strong finish in Oxfordshire.