Tournament: Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final supported by The R&A
Venue: Club de Golf Alcanada, Port d’Alcúdia, Mallorca
Hashtag: #RolexGrandFinal #RoadtoMallorca
Tom McKibbin will look to become the youngest Road to Mallorca Number One in history when he tees it up in the Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final supported by The R&A at Club de Golf Alcanada this week.
The Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final is the 28th and final event on the Road to Mallorca, a season which has featured 16 different countries, where the top 45 players on the Rankings will battle it out for one of the 20 coveted DP World Tour cards.
The 19-year-old is currently placed 15th on the Road to Mallorca Rankings and he would move to the Number One spot should he triumph at the season finale and current Rankings leader Jeremy Freiburghaus finishes no higher than fourth, while JC Ritchie, Alexander Knappe and Mikael Lindberg would also have to finish no higher than third.
Englishman Tommy Fleetwood became the youngest Challenge Tour Number One when he topped the Rankings in 2011 at just 20 years old after finishing second at the Challenge Tour Grand Final in Italy, and McKibbin now has the opportunity to write his name into the history books.
Switzerland’s Freiburghaus will himself look to make history by becoming the first Swiss player to win the Rankings, while current Number Two Ritchie would also become the first South African winner should he triumph this week.
Another piece of history could be made by Frenchman Clément Sordet, who is looking to become the first man to win this event on two separate occasions following his victory at the 2017 NBO Golf Classic Grand Final.
Any player in the 45-man field can mathematically graduate, with the likes of Ireland’s John Murphy (42nd) and Switzerland’s Benjamin Rusch (45th) requiring strong performances to break into the all-important top 20.
The 27th edition of the Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final, which has been the season-ending event since 1995, will be broadcasted live around the world for the first time in the Tour’s history.
Tom McKibbin: “I’m just going to focus on my own game and hopefully I can produce some solid golf and everything else will take care of itself. If I play the same way I have all season I’m confident I can get the job done and secure my DP World Tour card.
“I’m focused on securing my card but obviously it would be fantastic to win the tournament because I know I still have a chance to win the Rankings.
“My game has developed so much this year. The courses have been fantastic, and the fields have been so strong that I have naturally had to up my game and make my misses a lot smaller because any mistakes get punished out here on the Challenge Tour. I’ve definitely grown as both a player and a person this year.
“The course is lovely this week and I think it will be a good test of golf. It looks generous off the tee but once you get up there you realise how narrow the fairways are and if you miss the fairway, the rough can be quite thick which means the ball sits right down.
“It’ll be great to have my family with me this week. They don’t get to see me play that much so hopefully I can put on a show for them.”
Clément Sordet: “I’m not going to look at the leaderboard or the Rankings, especially the projected Rankings, because I know if I play my game and stick to the process I will finish inside the top 20.
“This year I have played so many tournaments but I have really enjoyed the travel and I’m really enjoying my life right now.
“I can make history this week by becoming the first player to win the Challenge Tour Grand Final twice and I will do the best I can to make that happen.
“When I won five years ago in Oman I was 11th in the Rankings and I needed a good win because only the top 15 got their cards back then. I eventually won the Grand Final and finished second on the Rankings so I was the happiest man in the world.”
John Murphy: “It’s been two weeks since we last played a tournament and it feels like it’s been two months because we’ve had such a busy summer. I feel very refreshed, looking forward to getting back out there and competing again.
“Just to get here was very important for everybody because of all the things that come with it. You obviously have the top 20 but the top 45 are all guaranteed into Final Stage of Q School so it’s about trying to kick on and get into that top 20.
“I need a good finish here this week to get into that top 20, there’s no doubt about it. If I can stick to what I’ve done in the last few months, stick to my process, working with my team and caddie around me and performing to the best of my ability then hopefully that’ll leave me in the right place at the end of the week.”