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In-form golfers heading to Dubai Final

posted on 05/10/2014: 2126 views



With a place on The European Tour within touching distance for many of the best young players in the world, the battle for honours at this year's Dubai Festival City Challenge Tour Grand Final, hosted by Al Badia Golf Club and taking place from November 5 to November 8, will be a fascinating and exciting spectacle.

England's Andrew Johnston has season earnings of €181,115 and currently leads the way on the Challenge Tour Rankings, from which the top 15 at the conclusion of the Dubai Final hosted by Al Badia will earn their playing rights for the 2015 European Tour.

Johnston began this season solidly but it wasn't until June that his performances started to rocket. He won the Scottish Hydro Challenge on June 29th and then throughout July and August he didn't finish outside the top 20 in any event — and during that spell he picked up a second win at the Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge. A second place finish at the Kazakhstan Open in September saw him strengthen his lead on the ranking.

"The goal is to finish top of the rankings this year, so I just need to keep going and keep doing well,” said the Londoner. "I've worked really hard this year and it is paying off, so I just need to keep doing it.”

Sam Hutsby was the man who pipped Johnston in Kazakhstan and with that victory he moved up to third on the ranking with €122,779, confirming his return to The European Tour. Hutsby will be determined to overtake his fellow countryman at the top of the ranking when play gets underway at Al Badia.

Korea's Byeong-hun An, who in 2009 became the youngest-ever winner of the US Amateur title at the age of 17, finished third in Kazakhstan and with that result and a victory in the Rolex Trophy in August, his stock is also rising ahead of this season's showdown in Dubai. Byeong-hun is currently fourth on the ranking and after becoming the first Korean winner on the Challenge Tour he is set to ply his trade on The European Tour next year.

Benjamin Hebert is leading the charge of seven Frenchmen who are all in with a chance of making The European Tour next year. Hebert is currently fifth with €104,870 in earnings after winning the Open Blue Green Cotes d'Amor Bretagne in his homeland in September while former European Tour player Michael Lorenzo-Vera is tenth on the ranking and a good performance at the Dubai Festival City Challenge Tour Grand Final hosted by Al Badia Golf Club should seal his return to the pinnacle of European golf.

Edouard Espana is currently 12th while Cyril Bouniol and Adrien Bernadet are both currently outside the top 15 place in 18th and 19th respectively, while in 22nd and 23rd are Thomas Linard and Jerome Lando Casanova respectively. Meanwhile Germany's Moritz Lampert, who is already a European Tour member after three Challenge Tour wins this year, is set to play in the Dubai Final. Lampert will have the luxury of playing under no pressure at Al Badia, knowing he will be on The European Tour next year come what may. Last year's event saw India's Shiv Kapur clinch a four-stroke victory over Jamie McLeary and Jose-Filipe Lima to seal his European Tour card. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/sport/inside_sport.asp?xfile=/data/nationsports/2014/October/nationsports_October33.xml§ion=nationsports

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