Small field means hot contest for Branden

Branden Grace will form part of a mere 42-player field when he plays his first Rolex Trophy at Golf Club de Geneva, which is the permanent host of the tournament, from 24-27 August.

The tournament is the eighth-last Challenge Tour event. The field includes the top 40 players on the Order of Merit, and with €218,000 in prizes, guarantees a serious battle in Switzerland.

Currently 11th on the Order of Merit, Grace begins his first Rolex Trophy appearance on the back of a second-place finish at the Acaya Open, third at the Barclays Kenya Open and two further top-10 finishes in 2011.

The tournament itself carries a few irregularities.

As mentioned, Golf Club de Geneva has hosted the tournament since its inception in 1991, and the field contains only 42 professional golfers, 40 of whom top the Challenge Tour Rankings.

The final two players of the field are invited to enter. This year it will be Italy’s Matteo Manassero and Switzerland’s Julien Clement.

The tournament also runs in an unusual playing format, which pairs two professionals with two junior players in a pro-am setup for the first day.

The latter three days of the tournament are also played as a pro-am, but each four-ball is contains just one professional, who then shares a four-ball with three amateurs.

Mark Tullo won the 2010 event and proved that Golf Club de Geneva allows players to shoot low with his tournament score of 22-under-par.

This week the mercury is set to rise to 40 degrees Celsius in Geneva, but Pretoria-born Grace should manage the conditions well.

Within such a small field there will be intense competition, but Grace has proved himself to be a hot contender on the Challenge Tour.

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