Hurly Long is aiming to make history by becoming the first German to top the Road to Mallorca Rankings at the conclusion of this week’s Challenge Tour Grand Final, which takes place at T Golf & Country Club from November 19-22.
The island of Mallorca is hosting the Challenge Tour finale for the second time as the top 45 available player on the season-long Rankings battle it out for the prestige of winning the Challenge Tour Grand Final, while the top five players on the Rankings will receive playing opportunities in nominated events on the European Tour next year.
Long, 25, currently lies fifth on the Rankings but victory this week would see him leap to the summit and overhaul countryman and current leader Marcel Schneider. He has enjoyed a successful maiden Challenge Tour season, winning his first title at the Italian Challenge Open Eneos Motor Oil, and now wants to make it a year to remember by breaking new ground as the first German Challenge Tour Number One.
“It would be super cool, super exciting,” he said. “Any time you can set a marker like that, it’s always something special, so it would be super cool. I’m going to focus on what I can focus on but obviously I have some high goals for my life and if that happens to be one of the things that comes about, that’d be great.
“I think the German contingent on the Challenge Tour is getting a lot stronger. It’s my first year out here but we’ve had some success in the past with Moritz Lampert and Alex Knappe played well one season, Sebastian Heisele last year, so Germans do tend to do fairly well out here. The depth of German golfers coming up is getting a lot bigger, so it’s definitely a good thing for German golf.”
The three-time Eisenhower Trophy player made only three cuts prior to September in 2020, but has since made six out of six, crediting the ability to control his mental state as an important factor in his upturn in form.
“I knew that I have the game to compete out here and do well out here, so it’s nice that I’ve been able to have some fortune over the last few months but obviously the job isn’t done yet,” he said.
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“I think finding my mental state in which I play best has been important. You obviously know what helps you do well mentally but every time you get to a new stage, it is a little bit different so you have to adjust and see what’s right for that.
“You’re still the same person and a lot of the stuff stays the same, but some of the things alter a little bit. I think I’ve found my groove out here now.
“I’m in a good spot right now and I just need to do the things that I do well, control the things I can control and whatever happens, happens. That’s the attitude I’m taking into it.”
The draw for the first round of the Challenge Tour Grand Final will be in Rankings order, therefore Long will tee it up alongside Road to Mallorca Number Four Matt Ford and Number Six Ondrej Lieser, the latter of whom became the first Czech winner in Challenge Tour history at the Andalucía Challenge de España earlier this month.
Rankings leader Schneider will play in the final group alongside Spain’s Pep Angles, who trails the German in the Rankings by 4,924 points, and England’s Richard Mansell, who currently occupies third spot.
The Challenge Tour Grand Final will begin at 8.30am local time with David Boote, Enrico Di Nitto and Robin Petersson getting the action under way.