The European Challenge Tour returns to Iberostar Real Club de Golf Novo Sancti Petri for this week’s Challenge de España and we’ve picked out three players to keep an eye on…
It may be an obvious choice but Road to Mallorca Number One JC Ritchie gets the nod as this week’s form horse. The South African already has two wins to his name in 2022, triumphing at the Bain’s Whisky Cape Town Open and the Jonsson Workwear Open in his homeland alongside making every other cut on the Challenge Tour so far this year. He has shown promise in the past by winning in South Africa before going on to struggle in Europe, despite his strong start. However, the 28-year-old has shown early promise since arriving in Europe this year, finishing in a tie for eighth at the Betfred British Masters hosted by Danny Willett.
Home favourite: Ivan Cantero Gutierrez
Currently the highest ranked Spaniard on the Road to Mallorca, Ivan Cantero Gutierrez will be targeting success in his home country this week. The 26-year-old has one top ten to his name so far in 2022 – at the Bain’s Whisky Cape Town Open – and has only missed two cuts from eight starts on both the Challenge Tour and DP World Tour this year. In 2021, the Challenge de España and Challenge de Cádiz were both held at Sancti Petri and Cantero Gutierrez made the cut on the both occasions without threating the top of the leaderboard, finishing tied 43rd and 62nd, respectively.
The Outsider: Matt Baldwin
Solid yet unspectacular would probably be the way to describe Matt Baldwin’s start to the 2022 Road to Mallorca. He tied for 24th at the Dimension Data Pro-Am before missing the cut at the Bain’s Whisky Cape Town Open and retiring from the Jonsson Workwear Open. The Englishman made the cut at his next three events without breaking into the top 20, however, he has reason to be hopeful ahead of Thursday’s first round. The 36-year-old secured his first Challenge Tour win at the 2011 Challenge de España, beating Julien Guerrier on the third play-off hole at Tecina Golf, so has experience of winning on Spanish soil…