After the double stage in Sweden, the Challenge Tour moves to the Iberian Peninsula for two very important tournaments in the race towards the twenty 'cards' for the DP World Tour which will be up to the first 20 of the Road To Mallorca at the end of the season (order of merit) .
First stop in Almeria in Spain for the Challenge de España (7-10 September), then the second in Vau Obidos in Portugal for the Open de Portugal at Royal Óbidos (14-17 September). Five events to go before the Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final (November 2-5, Mallorca, Spain) where cards will be drawn and only the top 45 on the money list will be admitted and, therefore, not just competing to enter among the top 20, but also to get to Mallorca and still get a chance to access the top twenty at the last minute.
Challenge Tour, schedule
In the Challenge de España, on the course of the Club de Golf Playa Serena, nine Italian players will compete: Francesco Laporta, Matteo Manassero, Andrea Pavan, Renato Paratore, Filippo Bergamaschi, Jacopo Vecchi Fossa, Filippo Celli, Gregorio De Leo and Stefano Mazzoli.
Some like Manassero and Scalise (who will be absent), are practically one step away from the 'paper' and Pavan is too if he doesn't get distracted. At the moment Laporta is just outside 20th place. He runs no risk of missing the Grand Final, but the immediate goal is to get back to the area that counts where he had already been after his success in the Big Green Egg German Challenge.
De Leo, Zemmer, Celli and Paratore are among the top 100 and there are still enough points available for a trip to Mallorca, but at least a first (320 points) or second place (220) and other important placings are needed to reach at the half.
In the field, among the favorites together with Manassero, Pavan and Laporta already scored in the season, the South Africans Casey Jarvis and Brandon Stone, the Spanish Manuel Elvira, the German Maximilian Rottluff, relaunched by last week's success in the Indoor Golf Group Challenge, the Welshman Stuart Manley, the Spaniard Ivan Cantero Gutierrez, the Englishmen Will Enefer, Sam Bairstow and Jamie Rutherford and the Portuguese Ricardo Gouveia, to name a few in a much longer list.
All the other Italians have a chance to put themselves at the top and in particular Paratore, who seemed in good shape last week in the European Omega Masters (DP World Tour, 13th). The prize pool is 250,000 euros with the first coin of 40,000 euros.
No past winners are taking part in the competition, which began in 1999 and is now in its 24th edition. It has never been won by the Italians, but second place was achieved by Alessandro Napoleoni (2004) and Nicolò Ravano (2016), who, on that occasion, became the second player to break the 60-shot barrier with a 59 (-12 ), preceded in the feat by the Frenchman Adrien Mork (Tikida Hotels Agadir Moroccan Classic, 2006, winner) and followed by that of the Finnish Lauri Ruuska (Vierumäki Finnish Challenge, 2023, first place).
The Spaniard Alejandro Del Rey did best of all, scoring a 58 (-14) in the Swiss Challenge (2021, tenth at the end), a score that no one has equaled both on the Challenge Tour and on the DP World Tour.