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What the European Challenge Tour rankings and the Grand Final mean – Road to Mallorca

11/05/2021 by Elena Sinde Romero

What the European Challenge Tour rankings and the Grand Final mean – Road to Mallorca

Craig Howie of Scotland plays his tee shot on the 1st hole during Day One of the Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final (Getty Images)

04 Nov

11/04 – 11/07/2021

Challenge Tour: Challenge Tour Grand Final 2021

T-Golf & Country Club Poniente – Mallorca, Spain

  • Round 4/4
  • Strokeplay
  • Prize money: 450.000 €
  • Defending champion: Ondrej Lieser

First things first, for those who are not very familiar with the different Tours, the European Challenge Tour is the male subcategory of the Main European Tour. Since its inception in 1989, the Challenge Tour has developed into a proven training ground, where the champions-in-waiting compete across the globe for a place on the European Tour. Many players who have progressed from the Challenge Tour have gone on to become Major Champions. Including Brooks Koepka, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer and Louis Oosthuizen. In addition to Ryder Cup stars Ian Poulter, Tommy Fleetwood and Alex Noren.

Walking the path towards the Main Tour.

Professional golfers usually start their career playing in smaller Tours such as the Alps Tour, or the Q-School. It stands for European Tour Qualifying School. The Q-School is the thoughest test in golf. Held between September and November each year. Only the top 25 players at the end of the six-round Final Stage will earn the direct pass to the European Tour for the following season.

Behind the Scenes. The Challenge Tour from first hand.

The competitiveness is so high that most golfers tend to go step by step, qualifying from one Tour to the next. Currently ranked #1 of the Challenge Tour, the Spanish golfer Santiago Tarrio explains:

The Alps Tour is so sacrificed due to the traveling expenses, and the low money prizes. Best case scenario, your bank account finishes Par-even at the end of the season. But that is only possible if you constantly win the events. If otherwise, you are continuiously losing money to play.

This humble golfer talks about his personal experience. Santiago worked as a waiter for five years to save up some money before he could get back to the golf fields. He claims that the sponsors don’t know you yet, and it is hard to find one that invest in you, which hinders financial support. Tarrio and his team missed some cuts at first. They depended on a loan to keep playing before they finally earned the full card to the Challenge Tour. It was then, when the economic struggle decreased.

Delving into The Grand Final.

This week, the European Challenge Tour celebrates its last tournament of the season, the Grand Final. It takes places from November the 4th-7th, 2021 at the T-Golf & Country Club, in Mallorca, Spain. The Top 45 players of the Challenge Tour season will make it to the Grand Final. However, only the best 20 of the Ranking will earn a pass to the European Tour for next year.

To throw some light over the reality of what these golfers go through. The Grand Final offers the highest monetary prize of all year, 450,000€ to spread between the 45 participants. The last position will collect 2,000€, compared to an average of 8,000€ that any player pockets on a regular European Tour event for making the cut.

From Czech Republic, Ondrej Lieser is the winner from last year. He is currently 310th of the OWGR. This year, all eyes were on the Spanish pro golfer Santiago Tarrio as he finished second in 2020. However, the results gave a 180º degrees turn. He shot 1-over (72 shots) in the opening round to situate himself at the end of the leaderboard.

Santiago Tarrio of Spain plays his tee shot on the 1st hole during Day One of the Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final. (Getty Images)

The second round has already started and apparently he was only starting engines yesterday. Tarrio climbed up 30 postions after the second day. He shot a total of 4-under par (67 shots) for a Top 10. There is a small chance that he will not close the year as number one. Tarrio and his caddy Noelia will surely give it all to bring the trophy home.

After a year of empty stadiums, fields, and pavillions, Borja Ochoa – General Manager of the T Golf & Country Club is excited to welcoming the public again. “Happily, we are returning to normality and this year will be able to welcome you all without restrictions.” People deserves to watch this show.

A greenside leaderboard is seen at the end of the Day Two of the Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final. (Getty Images)

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