Joachim B. Hansen is looking to become the first Dane since Thomas Bjørn in 1995 to finish the season as European Challenge Tour Number One by claiming victory at the Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour Grand Final.
The 28 year old goes into the season-ending event with a lead of 47,024 points over second-placed Victor Perez after an excellent campaign which has included two victories, five top fives, and nine top ten finishes this term.
With 184,260 points already banked, Hansen can also make more history in the Middle East. A victory would see him break the record for the largest points haul in a single Challenge Tour season – Ricardo Gouveia is the current holder of that title after he earned 251,592 points when he topped the Rankings in 2015.
The top 15 in the Rankings will earn European Tour cards at the end of the week, and with only 3,735 points separating Road to Ras Al Khaimah Number 15 Tom Murray and Oliver Wilson, who currently sits in 18th position, it will go down to the wire in the Middle East.
As is always the case, anyone competing in the 45-player field can secure a European Tour card by triumphing in the Grand Final. Antoine Rozner, the 45th and final man into the event, arrives in the United Arab Emirates 41,721 points away from 15th place.
Joachim B. Hansen
“I’m feeling really good. The goal this week is to win again and to stay at the top of the Rankings. This has been the season of my life. Everything in my game has been so steady and everything has improved, I’ve also managed to keep so calm and cool throughout the year.
“To be in this position is great as you do feel relaxed. The guys lying around the top 15 know that they need a good result here to save their season next year, or even their career.”
“I am delighted to be here and it’s a big change from last year. To go into the final last year in 16th was a very different challenge as now I start the week in second place and there is a lot on the line – I can win the Order of Merit, I just need to take down JB.”
“After the win in Hainan this year has been ten out of ten. Before that I’d had a lot of top tens and had been close on a couple of occasions, and now I can’t wait for the future.
“I have to win this week to have a chance to finish the season as number one, but it is a similar course to the one in Hainan and hopefully that will play to my advantage.”
“It would be everything you know to get into the top 15. I’ve been close on a few occasions and I know what it’s like up there on the European Tour. I feel like the way I’ve played this year, I’ve taken a lot of positives and a lot of momentum into this week and hopefully I can do the job.
“I’ve got my brother here this week, so whatever is meant to be will be and as long as we’re having fun that’s all that matters, but I’ll have the same mindset this week as any other week, just try to win the tournament.”
“The carrot is dangling right in front of you this week but I’m here to try and win this tournament and I have to focus on that. If I keep the momentum going and play well every week I will get to where I want to get to, regardless of what happens at the Grand Final.”
“There was an article that came out on the Challenge Tour website that was mentioning all the big moves that players have made at the Grand Final in the past.
“I think it’s given me a bit of motivation because anything can happen, it’s just a golf tournament and there are only 45 players. If I win at the end, I’ll be on the European Tour, it’s great.”