European Challenge Tour

Hurly Long eyes big year as Road to Mallorca begins in Limpopo

Germany’s Hurly Long is determined to secure one of the 20 European Tour cards on offer on the 2021 Road to Mallorca, with the season set to get under way with the Limpopo Championship at Euphoria Golf Club from April 22-25.

This week’s event in South Africa is the first of three co-sanctioned events with the Sunshine Tour to begin the European Challenge Tour’s 2021 campaign, as players battle it out over 26 events across the globe for one of the 20 graduation spots on offer through the Road to Mallorca Rankings.

Long finished eighth on the Rankings in 2021 following a strong maiden campaign which yielded the 26-year-old’s first Challenge Tour victory at the Italian Challenge Open Eneos Motor Oil, and he now has his sights set on securing graduation this year.

“I had a pretty good season last year on the Challenge Tour, finished eighth and just missed my card,” he said. “I’m more focused on doing what I can do, but at the same time if I play well and to my abilities I will have a good season, and playing on the European Tour next year is the goal.

“My game is good. It’s early in the season, so you’re fiddling around with some things. My putting hasn’t been quite sharp, but the ball-striking is good and I’m looking forward to it.”

The 2019 Pro Golf Tour Order of Merit winner made his Challenge Tour debut in last year’s Limpopo Championship and, despite missing his first three cuts, is excited to be back in South Africa.

“I’m loving it,” he said. “Literally the only thing I was talking to my caddie about in Austria was how I was looking forward to the weather, it was going to be so much nicer.

“Austria was a nice course, but I love it here. It’s special. It’s my second trip to South Africa. I loved it the first around, it’s one of the coolest places on earth.

“I love the nature aspect of this place. That’s one of the cool things about our job, we see so many different places and cultures. It’s still new to me, in a way. It’s special. Golf is very important to me, but enjoying life and seeing the world is all part of the journey. You have to live in the moment.”

Long is joined in this week’s Limpopo Championship field by defending champion JC Ritchie. The South African triumphed at the first two editions of the event in 2019 and 2020 and is bidding for a hat-trick as he tees it up on home soil this week.

World Number 98 and three-time European Tour winner Brandon Stone and World Number 80 Daniel van Tonder, who won his first European Tour event at the Kenya Savannah Classic supported by Absa last month, will also tee it up at Euphoria Golf Club this week.

The Limpopo Championship begins at 6:30am local time on Thursday April 22, with Long teeing off from the tenth alongside Chris Swanepoel and Jordan Wrisdale at 12:50pm.

(Text: European Tour Communications)

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