The race to make the top twenty of the Challenge Tour is hotting up with only two events left for players to secure a place on next year?s European Tour. Peter Whiteford recorded his first Challenge Tour victory in Holland after four years on the tour. Winning the Dutch Futures at the end of September moved Whiteford up to 26th in the rankings ? and he now looks set to make the top twenty having followed this up with victory at the doc Salbe PGA European Challenge. Currently standing 13th in the Challenge Tour Rankings, Whiteford hit three rounds of 66 and one of 68 to finish the tournament on twenty two under par in Germany to cap a remarkable few weeks. With only two events left on the Challenge Tour schedule, both the Toscana Open Italian Federation Cup and the Apulia San Domenico Grand Final will be fiercely contested as players look to climb the table.
The Toscana Open, which will take place at Le Pavoniere Golf and Country Club from 17 until 20 October, will be the last chance for players to make the top 45 in order to reach the Tour ending Grand Final in Apulia. Richie Ramsey finished second behind fellow Scott Whiteford at the doc Salbe and finished eighth at the Open AGF-Allianz Cotes d?Armor Bretagne in France to leave him in 31st position. The 24 year old who only turned professional this summer, having won the US Amateur Championship in 2006 will be hoping for a good result in Italy to consolidate his position in the top 45 and make a final push for the top twenty.
Englishman Adam Gee needs a good finish to make the grade next week as he currently lies 61st in the rankings. Gee was tied in 45th place in France and will need to recapture the form that saw him win the 2006 Lake Macquerie Amateur Championship in Australia as well as the Berkshire Trophy in 2005 if he is to reach the Grand Final at the end of October.
Another Englishman, Ross McGowan (pictured), should have no worries about making the top ten and will attempt to hold on to his position at the top of the pile. With three first places and three second place finishes including most recently the runner up spot in France, McGowan will be looking to leave the Challenge Tour on a high before qualifying for next seasons European Tour.
Only the top 45 players after the Toscana Open will be able to play in the Grand Final – and with a prize fund of ?250,000 on offer in Apulia ? an all important spot in the top twenty needed to qualify for next seasons European Tour remains up for grabs.