Marco Penge secured promotion to the DP World Tour after winning the Challenge Tour Grand Final in Mallorca
Penge rises to the challenge to secure DP World Tour promotion
Marco Penge rounded off a special week by winning the Challenge Tour Grand Final and the season-long Road to Mallorca rankings, and clinching promotion to the DP World Tour.
The 25-year-old from West Sussex posted a closing three-under-par 69 at Club de Golf Alcanada to move to ten under for the week and secure an emphatic six-stroke victory.
Penge, who graduated to the Challenge Tour from the EuroPro Tour in 2019, follows in the footsteps of countryman Nathan Kimsey who triumphed at the season finale 12 months ago to win the rankings.
Penge started the final day in Mallorca just one shot ahead of Frenchman Tom Vaillant, but a bogey at the par-five first hole saw his lead immediately disappear. However, the Horsham man would bounce back brilliantly. Four birdies in seven holes around the turn and another at the par-four 15th saw him move clear at the top of the leaderboard and secure promotion to the DP World Tour.
“To be standing here and saying I’ve won twice on the Challenge Tour and also winning the rankings is hard to imagine,” he said. “It hasn’t quite sunk in yet, but I am absolutely over the moon. I believe in myself, and I know what I am capable of. I was in pretty good stead to do well this week and I’m just really pleased that I could bring it all together.”
Recounting his final round 69, which was preceded by rounds of 69, 68 and 72, Penge added: “I made bogey on one after a terrible shot into the green. I find it always takes me three or four holes to settle in my rounds and that is something I need to improve on. But after three holes I said to my caddie ‘I feel normal now, so let’s try and get our foot down and move as far forward as we can’ and obviously I did that. I think birdieing the 7th settled everything and once I got through eight, I felt I was going to be fine.”
Penge, who was in 60th place in the rankings before his maiden win at the Open de Portugal at Royal Óbidos six weeks ago, finished just seven points ahead of South African Casey Jarvis, who came second on the rankings, with Spaniard Manuel Elvira finishing third. Frenchman Ugo Coussaud graduated in fourth place with Swedish duo Jesper Svensson and Adam Blommé finishing fifth and sixth respectively.
Italian Lorenzo Scalise earns promotion in seventh place, with fellow countrymen Andrea Pavan – a two-time DP World Tour winner – and Matteo Manassero – a four-time DP World Tour winner and the youngest in DP World Tour history – returning to Europe’s top tier in eighth and ninth.
Portugal’s Ricardo Gouveia finished tenth and England’s Alex Fitzpatrick 11th. Vaillant climbed 21 places to 12th following his second-place finish in Mallorca, with fellow Frenchman Frederic Lacroix finishing third this week to move up to 13th. Italian Francesco Laporta returns to the DP World Tour in 14th, Englishman Will Enefer earns his first promotion in 15th and Spaniard Ivan Cantero goes up in 16th.
Englishman Sam Bairstow made a final day move, up five places to 18th with a fourth-place finish. Two-time DP World Tour winner Brandon Stone finished 19th, while German Maximilian Rottluff, who has won twice on the Challenge Tour this season, finished 20th. Welshman Stuart Manley secured the final DP World Tour card on offer in 21st.
For all the scores from the Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final click here.