10th April 2018 | Sunshine Tour
Bekker looks to Challenge Tour future in China
Oliver Bekker will not find his home language spoken anywhere this week as he tees it up in the Challenge Tour’s Belt and Road Colorful Yunnan Golf Open which tees off in Yunnan Province in China on Thursday.
Bekker is the only South African in the field as he looks to convert his good 2017-18 season on the Sunshine Tour into success on the Challenge Tour.
He’s attempting to follow in the footsteps of Erik van Rooyen, who followed up his victory in the 2017 Eye of Africa PGA Championship on the Sunshine Tour with a superb season on the Challenge Tour. That season included a victory in China in the Hainan Open and his third-place finish on the Road to Oman rankings. That give him his European Tour playing privileges.
That’s the route that Bekker, who won three times last season on the Sunshine Tour, will be trying to take as he sees if he can convert that form into international success. If it happens for him on the Challenge Tour, it will provide a stepping stone onto the bigger stage of the European Tour.
It’s not as if Bekker is unfamiliar with winning away from home. The first of his three title last season came in Lusaka, Zambia, where he won the Zambia Sugar Open.
Bekker started his Challenge Tour campaign last month in Kenya where many South Africans have done over the years. He finished in a share of sixth behind winner Lorenzo Gagli of Italy to be the leading South African in a field which saw five of the Sunshine Tour players make the cut.
He will be hoping that the success of Van Rooyen in China last year is a sign of things to come for him this week as he keeps working on getting to the Challenge Tour’s season-ending Ras Al Khaimah 2018 Golf Challenge.
A short cut would be to win this week and add two more Challenge Tour wins in quick time to gain automatic promotion to the European Tour.