Rhys Enoch, stunning victory between elephants

This success represents a notable achievement for Enoch, 35, from Truro, whose career has had a strong connection to South Africa

by Andrea Gussoni
Rhys Enoch, stunning victory between elephants
© Getty Images Sport - Johan Rynners / Stringer

Welsh golfer Rhys Enoch achieved a stunning victory in the SDC Open, the first Challenge Tour event of the season, which took place in collaboration with the Sunshine Tour and was played on the Zebula Golf Estate & Spa golf course (par 72) , located in Limpopo, South Africa.

Enoch finished the tournament with a total of 264 shots (66 66 66 66, -24).

Enoch, results

This success represents a notable achievement for Enoch, 35, from Truro, whose career has had a strong connection to South Africa.

He achieved a title that is now part of his palmares, with victories on both the Sunshine Tour and the Challenge Tour, as well as successes on the Jamega Pro Golf Tour and the Portugal Pro Golf Tour. His victory was characterized by extraordinary consistency, with four rounds all in 66 (-6) shots.

The final round was particularly impressive, with eight birdies and only two bogeys, allowing him to climb from third position and overcome three South African players: Martin Rohwer and Deon Germishuys, who finished second with 266 (-22), and Dylan Naidoo, who was fourth with 268 (-20).

In fifth place with 269 (-19) were the English Chris Paisley and George Bloor. Aron Zemmer placed 21st with a total score of 274 (70 70 66 68, -14), while Gregorio De Leo finished 43rd with 278 shots (69 70 71 68, -10). Rhys Enoch was awarded with a check for 51,008 euros out of a total prize pool of approximately 323,000 euros ($350,000 the official figure).

His victory is a remarkable achievement and will certainly put him in the annals of professional golf. The Challenge Tour, initially known as the Satellite Tour, was introduced in 1986 as a significant development in European professional golf.

At that time, it marked a pivotal moment when national tours in Sweden, France, and Italy opened their doors to foreign players, expanding opportunities for international competition. In 1989, a pivotal change was introduced with the inception of the Order of Merit.

This ranking system aimed to recognize the top-performing players and offered the top five a direct pathway to European Tour membership for the upcoming season. In the following year, the tour underwent a name change to become officially known as the Challenge Tour, a title first used in 1989.

From its early years up until 1993, the Challenge Tour rankings were determined by a player's best results over several events. However, starting in 1994, the system transitioned to a straightforward money list, where all results counted towards a player's standing.

Success on the Challenge Tour is a stepping stone to the European Tour. Each year, twenty players earn direct promotion to the European Tour, a significant achievement in their careers. Players finishing in positions 21 to 45 may also have opportunities to qualify for occasional low-prize-money European Tour events, although they can further enhance their status through participation in the European Tour Qualifying School.

A unique aspect of the Challenge Tour is that players who secure victory in three Challenge Tour events during a season are granted immediate access to the main European Tour, granting them full exemption for the following season.

This process mirrors the system utilized by the US-based Korn Ferry Tour in the United States, providing an efficient pathway for talented golfers to advance in their professional careers.