The end of the 2019 Road to Mallorca is in sight following the conclusion of the Foshan Open, but before we turn our attention to the Challenge Tour Grand Final, let us take a look back at a historic week at Foshan Golf Club.
First Chinese winner
The 2019 Foshan Open will go down in the record books as the first event to produce a Chinese winner on the European Challenge Tour. Bai Zheng-kai, who is playing in his first year as a professional, secured an incredible four-stroke victory at Foshan Golf Club thanks to a scintillating six under par back nine on Sunday, with onlookers becoming increasingly impressed as the 22-year-old navigated through each hole. China is the second nation of the year to have its first victory on the Challenge Tour after Adrian Meronk became Poland’s first winner at the 57° Open de Portugal @ Morgado Golf Resort.
Greater Bay Pro Challenge
Three past winners, three past low-Chinese players, 19th hole, 88 yards. The 9+2 Greater Bay Pro Challenge celebrated the Greater Bay, a collection of 11 areas in China, with Marcus Armitage, Oliver Farr and Borja Virto going head-to-head with their Chinese counterparts in a closest to the pin challenge for ultimate bragging rights…
The Foshan Open presented players with the final opportunity to secure a place in the field for the Challenge Tour Grand Final at Club de Golf Alcanada next month. Despite a number of strong performances from those sitting outside the top 45 on the Road to Mallorca Rankings, everyone who went into the Foshan Open with a top 45 spot emerged with their place in the field intact. Germany’s Alexander Knappe came the closest to breaking into the pack, but he agonisingly missed out after his tied fourth place finish was only enough to climb 43 spots into 46th position. Christofer Blomstrand and Roope Kakko also gave it their best shot, but came up just short by finishing their seasons in the 47th and 48th positions, respectively. The last man into the Grand Final is France’s Ugo Coussaud who, despite a missed cut, kept his place in the field after slipping just three spots.
Race for Number One
At the other end of the Road to Mallorca Rankings, the Number One position changed hands once again, with Francesco Laporta’s reign at the top lasting just one week. Long-time Rankings leader Calum Hill’s third-place finish in Foshan returned him to the top with one event remaining, while Laporta dropped to second and Richard Bland’s tie for fourth place moved him back into the top three. Hill’s return to the top came courtesy of a red-hot finish at Foshan Golf Club as he carded five consecutive birdies from the 14th to 18th to fly up the leaderboard for yet another impressive result.