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  • Writer's pictureRonan Kleu

Challenge Tour Card Secured!

Updated: May 6

Last week I concluded what was a marathon of golf – 10 rounds of competition in 14 days – and came back to Switzerland with a full category on the Challenge Tour for 2024.

I flew out to Sevilla end of October to continue my journey West to Isla Canela Golf Links on the Portuguese border for the second stage of DP World Tour Qualifying School. The course had two nines with different character. The first nine went back inland from the coastal estuary with a good amount of water hazards, bushy terrain and elevation change. The back nine on the other hand was longer, more wide-open and exposed to any wind coming directly off the ocean. Our pre-tournament analysis was positive as I felt the course suited my game given its length and precision required with iron play. I then also played up to my expectations shooting 65, bogey-free 69, 73 and 66 to put myself in contention to win the tournament. I settled for 7th place, yet that was comfortably enough to secure my spot in DP World Tour Final Qualifying the following week.

The turnaround was quick, as I flew to Barcelona a day later to start my preparation on the two courses of Infinitum Golf – Lakes and Hills. Again, two very different courses with lakes being longer, flatter, more open with many lakes (who would have thought) and the hills course being shorter, tree-lined, more rugged in a way and hilly (no surprises again given the name). I personally predicted Hills to play a little tougher as the wind would swirl in the trees and there was little way of knowing how strong the wind above the trees really was. My first round was on the Lakes with high winds in which I succeeded in playing a bogey-free 68. I then shot 73 around Hills and 69 around Lakes. This meant that I needed one more very solid round on Hills to make the cut of top 70 out of 156 players. It was very nerve-wracking as so much was on the line this week, but I stuck to my process and my behavioral commitments I had set myself for the day: Vivid intent on each shot, acceptance after each shot and good body language throughout the round. Through sheer grit and determination, I battled through the day and made a decisive birdie on the 17th hole by driving the green and two-putting. I made par on 18 to shoot 71 and made the cut on the number. I have my Challenge Tour card for next year! Celebrations were short-lived as I now had to refocus on the final two days with the realistic opportunity of getting my DP World Tour card by finishing in the top 25. After such intense two weeks, however, my energy tanks were low and I was unable to produce the low number to advance substantially up the leaderboard. Nevertheless, I left the event with a positive outlook on the upcoming season.

That concludes a very eventful and successful year of competitive golf with highlights and memories collected along the way. I cannot wait to work hard in the off-season and start out fresh again at the beginning of 2024, but this is a good time to say some thank yous to the people that made my 2023 season possible. To my parents and sister for supporting me along each step of the way and allowing me to believe in myself, to my friends and teammates, to my coaches Marc Chatelain and Richard Adby for their unwavering support, to my equipment and tournament sponsors, to Golf and Country Club Zürich-Zumikon, to Karl Morris for the start of a beneficial working relationship, to everyone involved in the Swiss Golf and University of Iowa institutions for their support this year, to my fitness coaches and physios, THANK YOU.

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