The 2019 Hainan Open was a season-changing event with numerous ups and downs on the Road to Mallorca, with Francesco Laporta becoming the latest man to grasp the Number One spot.
The 29-year-old Italian won his first European Challenge Tour event at Sanya Luhuitou Golf Club, securing a one-stroke victory over Robin Roussel and duly jumped nine places into top spot on the season-long Rankings.
Laporta is now assured of a spot on the European Tour next year, as is runner-up Roussel, who climbed seven spots to second place to join the Italian in securing a top 15 berth.
Another big mover was Germany’s Sebastian Heisele as he leapt into the top 15, courtesy of a tied third place finish in Hainan. The Open de Bretagne Champion was on the cusp of the graduation spots – in 16th place – and climbed five places to 11th after a final round which included a hole-in-one on the third hole.
Lars van Meijel was the man to drop out of the top 15 at Heisele’s expense, as the Dutchman slipped to 16th on the Road to Mallorca following a missed cut in Hainan.
The biggest mover of the week was van Meijel’s countryman Wil Besseling, who finished alongside Heisele in tied third and halved his Ranking from 40th to 20th, moving to within 12,000 points of the graduation spots in the process.
Of those looking to secure a place in the Challenge Tour Grand Final next month, Ugo Coussaud enjoyed the best week as a tie for 30th place saw him climb three spots from 45th to 42nd. The Frenchman will need another good week at the Foshan Open to cement his place in Mallorca.
Coussaud will be hunted down by a plethora of players who are currently outside of the top 45, including Aaron Cockerill (47th), Roope Kakko (50th), Dave Coupland (53rd), Oliver Lindell (56th) and Pep Angles (60th) who all made significant gains in Hainan.
The Road to Mallorca now travels to the Foshan Open, which holds the biggest prize fund of the year at US$ 500,000, where players will be given the final opportunity to book their place at the Challenge Tour Grand Final.