Marco Penge Emerges Victorious at Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final
After four brutal days at Club de Golf Alcanada in Mallorca, England’s Marco Penge emerged victorious at the Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final, beating Tom Valiant of France by six strokes after starting the day with a one-shot lead.
The win catapulted him from 24th place to first in the rankings and gave him one of the 20 precious DP World Tour cards on offer for next season. This is a life-changing success for Penge.
An ecstatic Penge said: “It feels unbleievable considering where I was a couple of months ago when I was about 80th in the rankings. To be standing here now as Challenge Tour number one, it just hasn’t sunk in. I am over the moon. I believe in myself and my game has been in a good place. I felt like I was in the right place to do something good this week and my coach told me that I was swinging the club really well."
Penge has one of the fastest swings in professional golf and averages a truly mind-boggling 340 yards from the tee.
During the first round the wind was so strong that play was nearly suspended, and it continued to blow all week. The conditions were so difficult that the week ended with just five players finishing under par.
Penge led from start to finish, shooting a fabulous 69 on day one, following it with a 68 and a level-par round of 72. He dropped a shot at the opening hole in the final round but then birdied the seventh, ninth, 10th, 13th and 15th holes, which took him to 11 under par and gave him a seven-stroke lead.
It meant that he could relax as he entered the closing holes and he duly coasted to the title despite dropping a shot at the 17th. He safely parred the last hole to close with a 69.
It was his second victory of the year after he took the Open de Portugal in September.
This is the full list of players who gained DP World Tour cards for next season:
Marco Penge, Casey Jarvis, Manuel Elvira, Ugo Coussau, Jesper Svensson, Adam Blomme, Lorenzo Scalise, Andrea Pavan, Matteo Manassero, Ricardo Gouveia, Alex Fitzpatrick, Tom Vaillant, Frederic Lacroix, Francesco Laporta, Will Enefer, Ivan Cantero, Joel Girrbach, Sam Bairstow, Brandon Stone, Maximillian Rottluff and Stuart Manley.
Who is Marco Penge?
Penge was born in Clitheroe on May 15, 1998.
He first picked up a golf club when he was five when he accompanied his father, who had recently taken up the game.
He turned pro in 2017 after a successful amateur career which included a victory at the Scottish Strokeplay in 2015 and was winner of the boys Order of Merit that year. He was a senior club champion at The Dyke at the age of 13 and won the Sussex Under-15 Championship three years in succession.
In 2022 he grabbed the final spot at Hollinwell, his level-par aggregate good enough to book a first major championship start at St Andrews. It came a month after a second place finish on the European Challenge Tour in the Czech Republic.
Penge shot a superb second-round 65, nine better than his opening effort, to take the second of four Royal Liverpool places up for grabs in the Final Qualifying event at Dundonald Links in July. He would go on top miss the cut after rounds of 74 and 76.
“Being from Great Britain, The Open is our home major and the history of the event just makes it unbelievable,” he said. “Last year was the best week of my life. I remember leaving that week - I didn’t play well and was quite disappointed - and saying to my team I want to be back here. The feeling that you get is something else.”
At five-over-par after 13 holes at Dundonald the chances of that happening were fast fading, but he described his second round as “awesome”.
He missed seven months in 2021 following career-threatening knee surgery and went to Final Qualifying on the back of three successive missed cuts on the Challenge Tour, but prior to that was fourth in the D+D Real Czech Challenge.
He finished 39th in the Road to Mallorca rankings in 2022.
This was his 58th appearance on the Challenge Tour and his second victory. He won the Open de Portugal in September.
Penge averages an astonishing 341.67 yards form the tee, hits 54.35% of fairways and 75.93% of greens in regulation. He averages 34 putts per round, gets up and down from the sand 33.33% of the time and has a stroke average of 70.85.
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