Meet the 2019 European Challenge Tour graduate class

Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Meet the 2019 European Challenge Tour graduate class

Professional

Meet the 2019 European Challenge Tour graduate class

By

The 2019 Challenge Tour graduate class will have to play very well to top the class of 2018. Eleven of last year’s 15 graduates kept their cards on the main tour this year.

Don’t expect the class of 2019 to match that statistic. That’s not to say there aren’t good players amongst this year’s graduates, but it’s hard to see any of the 15 coming close to the likes of Victor Perez, Robert Macintyre, Adri Arnaus and Joachim B. Hansen, who are currently ninth, 13th, 36th and 52nd respectively on the Race to Dubai after getting their cards via last year’s Challenge Tour.

So who is most likely to excel in the 2020 season? Here are three names to look out for in 2020.

Key players in 2020

Connor Syme of Scotland, England’s Matthew Jordan and Pole Adrian Meronk are the likely lads of 2020.

Syme has been a potential Scottish star since he won the 2016 Australian Amateur Championship. He played in the 2017 Walker Cup, winning just one point out of a possible four. He turned that disappointment around by earning his European card for the 2018 season via the Qualifying School. Syme finished 126th on the money list, with a second-place finish in the Shot Clock Masters. He made 12 of 26 cuts in his rookie year.

With two full seasons under his belt, Syne should have enough experience to do a better job in his second tilt at the main tour. He’ll get a decent number of starts this year in good tournaments. He might not match fellow 2017 Walker Cup player Macintyre’s feats of this season, but he has the game to at least keep his card next year.

Jordan looked good in this year’s Betfred British Masters at Hillside Golf Club on the main tour, especially when he led after an opening 63 to set a course record. He eventually finished 15th, and didn’t look out of place alongside the likes of Tommy Fleetwood, Eddie Pepperell, Matt Wallace and other high calibre Englishmen in the field.

Jordan also played in the 2017 Walker Cup but went 0-2. The softly spoken Englishman is a links specialist, courtesy of his membership of Royal Liverpool. He won the 2017 St Andrews Links Trophy, a major amateur championship in the British Isles. Look for him to excel on fast running courses where the wind is a factor.

Meronk is the outside bet in this trio. He spent four years at East Tennessee State, when he won four times. He becomes the first Polish player to play on the European Tour. The 6-foot, 5-inch player might not light up the main tour next year, but he has the game to have a respectable season along with Syme and Jordan.

The Challenge Tour Class of 2019

  1. Francesco Laporta, Italy, 29 – Made five trips to the Qualifying School and succeeded in 2015 only to finish 189th on the money list. Has two Challenge Tour wins.
  2. Callum Hill, Scotland, 26 – Has three Challenge Tour wins including twice this year. Failed to get his card for main tour at 2018 Qualifying school. Has played just five European Tour events.
  3. Richard Bland, England, 46 – Veteran European Tour pro who epitomizes the term “journeyman.” He has two seconds in main tour events but has never won in 448 starts. His best season was 2016 when he finished 28th on the Race to Dubai.
  4. Sebastian Heisele, Germany, 31 – Played college golf at Colorado, graduating in 2011 with a degree in architecture. Has one Challenge Tour victory. Made six visits to the Qualifying School, with success in 2016 and 2017 but failed to keep his card both times.
  5. Adrian Meronk, Poland, 26 – Won this year’s 57º Open de Portugal @ Morgado Golf Resort. Played college golf at East Tennessee State, and becomes first Polish golfer to hold a full European Tour card.
  6. Jack Senior, England, 31 – Has made eight unsuccessful trips to the European Tour Qualifying School. Has two Challenge Tour victories, including one this year. Won the 2011 Lytham Trophy and went on to play in that year’s victorious GB&I Walker Cup team, winning two and a half points out of four.
  7. Robin Roussel, France, 26 – Has one Challenge Tour win, this year’s Hauts de France – Pas de Calais Golf Open. He also won on the MENA Tour. He’s made four unsuccessful trips to the Qualifying School.
  8. Antoine Rozner, France, 26 – Won back-to-back events on the Challenge Tour this year, taking the Challenge de España by four shots and then running out a seven-shot winner of the Prague Golf Challenge. Has made two unsuccessful trips to the Qualifying, 2017 and 2018.
  9. Matthew Jordan, England, 23 – The softly spoken Englishman won the Italian Challenge Open Eneos Motor Oil to pave his way to the European Tour. The Royal Liverpool member made a splash on the European Tour this year in the Betfred British Masters when he set a course record at Hillside Golf Club with an opening 63. He eventually finished 15th. Played in the 2017 Walker Cup at Los Angeles.
  10. Ricardo Santos, Portugal, 37 – The Tour veteran had a full card for three straight seasons between 2012 and 2014. He won the 2012 Madeira Islands Open in his homeland. He won this year’s Swiss Challenge Presented by Swiss Golf on the Challenge Tour. He’s made nine unsuccessful visits to the Qualifying School
  11. Cormac Sharvin, Northern Ireland, 27 – Sharvin helped Great Britain & Ireland win the 2015 Walker Cup at Royal Lytham, winning three points out of three. In 2015, he won the prestigious Brabazon Trophy. He failed to get his tour card at the 2016 Qualifying School and has spent the last three years on the Challenge Tour.
  12. Oliver Farr, Wales, 31 – The Welshman has had a full European Tour card twice before, 2015 and 2018, both times via the Challenge Tour top 15. He has three Challenge Tour wins, including this year’s Lalla Aïcha Challenge Tour in Morocco.
  13. Darius van Driel, The Netherlands, 30 – Winning the Rolex Trophy, his second Challenge Tour win, helped him finish in the top 15 of the money list. Gave up the game at 18 because of a broken right hand after falling off a banana boat. Took it up again in 2015 and topped the Alps Tour money list.
  14. Connor Syme, Scotland, 24 – Won the 2016 Australian Amateur and reached eighth on the World Amateur Golf Ranking. Played in the 2017 Walker Cup. Got his card at the 2017 Qualifying School, but finished 126th on last year’s Race to Dubai. Won this year’s Turkish Airlines Challenge to ensure a return to the main tour.
  15. Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez, Spain, 30 –After four fruitless attempts at the Qualifying School, the Spaniard took 15th and final spot on the Challenge Tour money list by €1,437.50. Didn’t win on the circuit but had seven top 10s including two seconds.

Latest

More Golfweek
Home