The European Challenge Tour’s 2020 schedule will begin with a maiden visit to South Africa for three tournaments which will launch the Road to Mallorca.
The trio of events will be co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour and mark the beginning of the Road to Mallorca rankings, which will encompass a minimum of 25 tournaments in 15 countries, across three continents, playing for a total prize fund which exceeds €6m.
Players will compete for one of 20 spots on the European Tour in 2021, an increase of five from the 2019 season, and that battle will begin at the Limpopo Championship at Euphoria Golf Club and Koro Creek Golf Club from January 30 – February 2, followed immediately by the RAM Cape Town Open from February 6-9 at Royal Cape Golf Club and King David Mowbray Golf Club.
The South African Swing will end with the Dimension Data Pro-Am at Fancourt Golf Estate from February 13-16, with the winner receiving a spot in the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational at TPC Southwind, Memphis, in July 2020.
Elsewhere, the Netherlands will return as a host country on the Challenge Tour for the first time since 2009 when the B-NL Challenge Trophy is staged from August 27-30.
Several long-running events will return in 2020, and the first European tournament on the Road to Mallorca will be the Prague Golf Challenge at Prague City Golf from May 7-10, before the Challenge de España takes place the following week.
May is rounded off with the Swiss Challenge at Golf Sempach, Lucerne, which begins a run of nine events in consecutive weeks.
The Road to Mallorca visits the Czech Republic for the second time from June 4-7 for the D+D REAL Czech Challenge at Kaskáda Golf Resort in Brno, which is followed by the Match Play 9, which returns for a fourth edition from June 11-14.
The Open de Golf des Hauts de France-Pas de Calais and the Italian Challenge make up the final two weeks of June, prior to the D+D REAL Slovakia Challenge from July 2-5 where players will experience the world’s only par six at Penati Golf Resort.
Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge and the Euram Bank Open occupy mid-July spots in the schedule and are followed by back-to-back trips to Scandinavia for the Vierumäki Finnish Challenge from July 23-26 and Made in Denmark Challenge presented by FREJA from August 12-15, with the latter moving to a new venue in Frederikshavn Golf Club, located in the north of the country.
The Rolex Trophy will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2020, when the top 40 players on the Road to Mallorca Rankings tee it up in the Pro-Am format tournament at Golf Club de Genève, Switzerland, from August 19-22, before the B-NL Challenge Trophy rounds off August.
The Open de Bretagne and the Irish Challenge will take place in the first two weeks of September, before the Open du Portugal at Royal Óbidos enters a new chapter with the tournament being held at Royal Óbidos Spa & Golf Resort, Vau Óbidos.
The Seve Ballesteros-designed Portuguese course will be followed immediately by a trip to Golf International de Pont Royal in France for the third edition of the Hopps Open de Provence from September 24-27, meaning players will tackle layouts designed by the legendary Spaniard in successive weeks. The Road to Mallorca then returns to Africa for the Lalla Aïcha Challenge Tour in Morocco from October 1-4.
The 2020 season will have a similar feel as graduation time approaches. The prestigious Hainan Open and Foshan Open, both in China, will serve as the final two events before the class of 2020 is solidified at the Challenge Tour Grand Final.
In 2019, the Challenge Tour Grand Final was held at Club de Golf Alcanada and the tournament will remain in Mallorca in 2020, but will move to T-Golf & Country Club, located in the south-east part of the island.
Once again, earnings from both the US Open and The Open Championship will count towards the Road to Mallorca rankings, with players being awarded points equivalent to 10% of prize money won.
Alain de Soultrait, Director of the European Challenge Tour, said: “We are incredibly excited to announce our schedule for 2020, as we continue to break new ground globally. South Africa will become the 51st country the Challenge Tour has visited when we co-sanction three consecutive events with the Sunshine Tour, which shows the global nature of our tour, and we are equally as delighted to be returning to the Netherlands for the B-NL Challenge in August.
“We have witnessed a number of standout performances from our graduates on the European Tour this year, with three players from the Class of 2018 tasting victory and Robert MacIntyre, our Graduate of the Year, finishing in 11th place on the Race to Dubai. It is imperative we have another strong schedule of events to prepare our players for what they can expect on the European Tour.”
He added: “We must extend special thanks to the national federations, promoters, sponsors and partners. Without their continued support the Challenge Tour would not exist, let alone thrive and grow as it currently does. Finally, we wish the very best of luck to all our members and an enjoyable 2020 season to all our fans.”