Challenge Tour returns to India one year later

At the Classic Golf Country Club, on the championship course designed by Jack Nicklaus along with nine other holes, four Italians will compete: Luca Cianchetti, Gregorio De Leo, Aron Zemmer, and Pietro Bovari.

by Andrea Gussoni
SHARE
Challenge Tour returns to India one year later
© Getty Images Sport - Stuart Franklin / Staff

The Challenge Tour returns to India, one year later, once again featuring two consecutive events organized in collaboration with the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI). Relations between the two associations have resumed after a hiatus since 2013.

The Delhi Challenge (14-17 March) will be held in Gurugram, followed by the Kolkata Challenge (Kolkata, 21-24 March) the following week. At the Classic Golf Country Club, on the championship course designed by Jack Nicklaus along with nine other holes, four Italians will compete: Luca Cianchetti, Gregorio De Leo, Aron Zemmer, and Pietro Bovari.

Challenge Tour, golf

Among the favorites are two seasonal winners, the Swedes Mikael Lindberg, winner of the Cape Town Open, and Björn Åkesson, victorious in the previous NMB Championship, currently ranked first and fourth respectively in the Road To Mallorca (order of merit).

The field includes English players Sam Hutsby, Chris Paisley, and George Bloor, French players Martin Couvra and Robin Sciot-Siegrist, Australian Hayden Hopewell, and Spaniard Victor Pastor, all of whom are among the top 20 on the money list.

There will be 52 Indian players participating, including Om Prakash Chouhan, who emerged victorious in last year's Duncan Taylor Black Bull Challenge in Bangalore. Among the Italians, Cianchetti will aim to build on his strong performance in the NMB Championship (17th place), while De Leo, Zemmer, and Bovari, coming off two consecutive cuts, will need to step up their game.

The prize money amounts to $300,000 (approximately €275,000). The Challenge Tour was established in 1986, coinciding with the opening of national tours in Sweden, France, and Italy to foreign players. Initially named the Satellite Tour, it underwent a transformation the following year, in 1989, with the introduction of the Order of Merit.

This system awarded the top five players membership to the European Tour for the subsequent season. In 1990, the tour was officially renamed the Challenge Tour, a title already informally used in 1989. From its inception until 1993, the Challenge Tour rankings were determined by each player's best several results.

However, starting in 1994, it transitioned to a straightforward money list format, where all results are accounted for. Success on the Challenge Tour grants players membership to the European Tour for the following year. The top twenty players receive direct promotion, while those ranking 21st to 45th may also qualify for select low-prize-money European Tour events.

Additionally, they have the opportunity to enhance their standing through the European Tour Qualifying School. Players who secure victory in three Challenge Tour events within a season are expedited onto the main tour immediately and enjoy full exemption for the subsequent season, mirroring the pathway of the US-based Korn Ferry Tour.

Challenge Tour Jack Nicklaus
SHARE