Moritz Lampert returns to the European Challenge Tour this week having already graduated to The European Tour thanks to three victories earlier this season, but the German insists he is not back merely to play a cameo role and is hunting a fourth title at the National Bank of Oman Golf Classic.
The 23 year old has the added incentive of chasing down Rankings leader Andrew Johnston in the hope that he can finish the season in style by being crowned Challenge Tour Number One.
Lampert, who claimed his third victory in just nine appearances at the lucrative Azerbaijan Golf Challenge Open in August, is currently €47,280 behind his English counterpart in second place and with Johnston not in the field this week, a win in Muscat would move the Sandhausen player to the summit.
The two-time former Junior Ryder Cup player is certainly not treating his two weeks back on Europe’s second tier as a holiday and is determined to take the battle for the number one spot right down to the wire in Dubai.
“I want to go and try to win both tournaments,” said Lampert, who is attached to European Tour Destination Golf Club St Leon-Rot. “It’s not in my hands but I’ll be trying my hardest and just to be in with a chance of winning the Rankings is great.
“Andrew’s had a phenomenal season. He’s won twice and finished second in Kazakhstan so I’m quite far behind, but I feel like if I can win one, or maybe win the next two I’ve got a chance of topping the Rankings, which would be a great achievement because I’ve played so few events on the Challenge Tour.
“Andrew and I have become really good friends, we’ll probably play together at the Grand Final as well so I’m really looking forward to catching up with him. I haven’t seen him for a while and I think he gets the best out of me so it’s a win-win situation for both of us.”
Lampert is joined by 11 others from the top 15 of the Rankings, and the future still hangs in the balance for many of those as they attempt to consolidate their places inside that all-important cut-off point and claim a place in The 2015 Race to Dubai at the conclusion of next week’s Dubai Festival City Challenge Tour Grand Final hosted by Al Badia Golf Club.
As Sweden’s Johan Edfors and Englishman Jason Palmer have proven in the first two weeks of the Challenge Tour’s four-tournament ‘Final Swing’, victory in one of the lucrative season-ending events can change everything as they both moved into the top 15 with their respective triumphs in China.
The National Bank of Oman Golf Classic also provides a last chance saloon for those hoping to make it into the limited-field season finale in Dubai, with only the top 45 in the Rankings at the conclusion of this week’s event making it to Al Badia Golf Club.
Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick, who has been hotly tipped as a future superstar having won the Silver Medal as best amateur at The 2013 Open Championship, is the man just outside the mark for the Grand Final in 46th position and he is looking forward to the challenge.
“A good result here this week would give me a final crack at getting a European Tour card at the Challenge Tour Grand Final and I’m confident I can play well this week,” said the 20 year old, who has recorded three top ten finishes in his last four events.
“I haven’t played as well as I would have liked to this year but I feel like my game is coming together nicely now. The course here certainly suits my game so hopefully I can get off to a good start.”
Former European Tour winners Rhys Davies (53rd), Maarten Lafeber (60th) and Ross McGowan (69th) are among the players chasing one final shot at graduation from the Challenge Tour this week as they aim to at least extent their season by one more week.
Source: European Tour