Dubai: Traditionally players who have come through the European Challenge Tour have done well on the PGA’s European Tour with names such as Martin Kaymer, Henrik Stenson, Thomas Bjorn, Brooks Koepka and Ian Poulter getting familiar on the golfing scene.
Next week, two of Scotland’s finest golfers — Grant Forrest and Calum Hill — will also be aspiring towards a similar start to their professional golfing careers when they participate in the 2018 Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour Grand Final at the Al Hamra Golf Club.
“I believe that players on the Challenge Tour get into a rhythm of learning how to win events against some strong opposition,” Forrest told media at an impromptu meeting held at the Emirates Golf Club (EGC) in the presence of Nick Tarratt, Director of The European Tour in Dubai, and Robert Fiala from the Emirates Golf Federation.
“I believe that each of us on the Challenge Tour go into each and every tournament with the belief that we can win every event that we enter. Everyone enters so that he can win,” he added.
The 25-year-old Scot has had a successful amateur career during which he ended runner-up in the Amateur Championship while also featuring in the Walker Cup in 2015. “Next week is going to be a big one for me and the idea is to just go out there and give it my best,” he said.
Forrest and Hill are among the top-45 players to feature in the season-ending Road to Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour Grand Final. The Rankings began in March at the Barclays Kenya Open and concluded at the recent Foshan Open. Forrest is eighth on the list, while countryman Hill is 31st on the Rankings.
“We have so many names that come to mind when one speaks about the Challenge Tour. There is Kaymer, Bjorn, Poulter and I hope to come up with something strong and get my name on the list as well,” Hill said.
“The Challenge Tour has taught me to go through every tournament with a mentality of winning it. This one in Ras Al Khaimah will be no different. Everyone out there will be exceptionally good, and it will be my self-belief that will see me through,” the 23-year-old added.
The top-15 players on the Road to Ras Al Khaimah after the Grand Final will earn their European Tour card for the 2019 season in category 14. Any player who has won three times in the season is placed in the higher category 13 for next year.
Kim Koivu has already earned this distinction, and with one tournament to go, Rankings leader Joachim B. Hansen, Liam Johnston and Oliver Wilson, all two-time winners this season, still have the chance to earn the three-win promotion into category 13.