Egypt will find itself as a venue on the European Challenge Tour for the first time this year when the 2010 Egyptian Open – one of the world's oldest Open golf events – is staged at Cairo's Mirage City Golf Course from Wednesday, October 20 to Saturday, October 23.
With $250,000 in prize-money at stake and in prime position as the last European Challenge Tour event before the Apulla San Domenico Grand Final in Italy the following week, the Egyptian Open is expected to attract a powerful field, while negotiations are currently underway with one of the world's best players to appear as a guest invite.
"Following the success of the event in 2009 and the support we received from the Challenge Tour, we are proud that the Egyptian Open has achieved full European Challenge Tour status and is now part of the official Order of Merit," said Egyptian Golf Federation Chairman Ayman Hussein.
"As well as around 80 players from the European Challenge Tour, around a third of the field will be made up of local and regional invites and qualifiers. This is important to us at the Egyptian Golf Federation as the event has a tradition for being a showcase of the best in Egyptian golf as well as the region.."
Home-based players looking to rub shoulders with the likes of last year's champion Steven Tiley and the cream of the European Challenge Tour will have the opportunity of securing their places in a number of events staged between now and the tournament itself.
As well as the Closed Championship of Egypt, the Egyptian Amateur Open and the Red Sea Amateur Open, players can qualify from their standings in the Egyptian PGA rankings with amateurs having to be of three handicap or less to be eligible.
Hussein added: "It is especially exciting for us is to have allocated the top five spots in the 54-hole Egyptian Amateur Open to be held September 30th to October 2nd at Katameya Heights Golf and Tennis Resort to qualify to play in the 2010 Egyptian Open.
"We are encouraging all amateurs in the region, whether Arab Nationals or expats, to enter this Egyptian Amateur Open which, we believe, will add significant kudos and credibility to the Egyptian golf calendar. We are also in the process of inviting representatives from the Golf Associations of the Arab Golf Federation to the 2010 Egyptian Amateur Open."
Now in its 24th year, the European Challenge Tour has developed into a proven training ground where the stars of the future can hone their skills over 72-hole competition and under differing conditions in a substantial number of countries within Europe and beyond.
Widely regarded as a valuable stepping-stone onto The European Tour, the Challenge Tour has achieved incredible growth. It caters for aspiring, ambitious young hopefuls who aim to follow in the footsteps of Challenge Tour graduates such as Thomas Bjorn, Michael Campbell, Niclas Fasth, Trevor Immelman, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Oliver Wilson. In 2009, the European Challenge Tour carried a total prize fund of more than €4 million during a season of 24 tournaments in eighteen countries.
A true test of character, the Tour offers only the top twenty 'promotion' each year to The European Tour but scores have gone on to become tournament winners on The European Tour with many earning Ryder Cup honours.
"We were impressed with the way the event was staged last year and received very positive feedback from all of the players who took part," said Nick Tarratt, Director The European Tour International, Dubai Office. "The fact that Egypt will be the last chance of qualification for the 45 places available at the end-of-season Grand Final in Italy means Cairo will command a strong field."
© 2000 - 2019 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)