WIL Besseling goes into the Challenge Tour Grand Final with a real chance of earning a European Tour card at the end of the week.
Such an outcome would complete a drastic change in fortunes for the player ranked No. 18 on the Road to Mallorca going into the season’s climax on the Spanish island.
The Dutchman was the first man to miss out on a spot in the season-finale in 2018, finishing 46th in the rankings.
And, prior to the event, Besseling was just 359 points behind last-man-in Antoine Rozner.
However, bolstered by a tie for third place at the Hainan Open, Besseling will tee it up at Club de Golf Alcanada, Mallorca, just two places outside the all-important top 15 with success on Sunday at the forefront of his mind.
“Being here and being in the Grand Final is nice,” said Besseling. “The Challenge Tour has done a good job in finding this place and having the Grand Final here.
“I’ve been playing decent over the last two months. I feel my game has grown and mentally I’m getting stronger so hopefully I can do well this week.
“Obviously I need a good finish here to get my card, but I’m feeling confident to actually do it, so hopefully on Sunday I’ll be able to get my card,” Besseling added.
“It’s a new course for everyone so it’s hard to think about scores, so I’m not thinking about that.
“You need to do everything well to actually win this event because everyone is playing well and everyone’s got a chance to win this week.”
The 33-year-old Dutchman was in contention for his first European Challenge Tour win in 11 years in Hainan.
But after finding the water on the penultimate hole he carded a double-bogey, that forced him to settle for a share of third place.
A tied 46th place finish in the Foshan Open ended a strong two weeks for the man from The Netherlands – during which he more than halved his Road to Mallorca ranking.
Besseling said” “I was 40th going into China so missing out again did go through my mind. But I felt good going into those events.
“The last few months have been going well so I was happy to be in contention in the first week in China in Hainan.
“I actually expected a bit more in the second week. I wanted to be in a similar position to the week before – but that’s golf I guess.
“I was pretty pleased with how I played in China and it gave me a chance to get my card this week. It’s been good and hopefully I can get the job done.”
The Challenge Tour Grand Final is the 24th and final event on the Road to Mallorca, where the top 45 players compete for one of 15 European Tour cards on offer.
Such is the breakdown of prize money this week in Mallorca, any player will graduate to the European Tour with a victory – giving everyone in the field a shot at glory.
There are nine English and three Scots in the field. Gleneagles’ two-time winner Calum Hill heads the money list while Hampshire’s Richard Bland will be hoping for a repeat of his Challenge Tour Grand Final win in Bordeaux, in 2001 – still the 46-year-old’s only victory of his professional career.
Bland, who is ranked third, is one of three English players inside the top 15 before play commences.
The likes of Cheshire’s Matthew Jordan (10th), and Lancashire’s Jack Senior (7th), who have a win each on the Challenge Tour in 2019, are hoping to maintain their place in the top 15 to ensure graduation.
Meanwhile Wiltshire’s Ben Stow (17th) will be hoping to move up at least two places to gatecrash the party.
Oliver Farr (15th) and Rhys Enoch (25th) will fly the flag for Wales this week, while Cormac Sharvin is Northern Ireland’s sole representative in Mallorca, sitting pretty currently in ninth place.
Playing privileges on the top tier is not the only prize on offer this week, as the battle to be crowned Challenge Tour No. 1 reaches its conclusion.
Italy’s Francesco Laporta, who is currently second, hopes to make up the 5,277 points to overtake Hill at top – and prevent any charge from Bland, who is another 1,712 points behind.
The Challenge Tour Grand Final will begin at 7.30am GMT with France’s Ugo Coussaud, Somerset’s Laurie Canter and Spaniard Carlos Pigem playing in the first group out, with Besseling set to go off at 9.09am.
•For live scoring click here.