Chris Hanson has laid down a marker for the coming season by returning from the inaugural event with a cash prize.
The Woodsome Hall-based professional finished tied 23rd at three under par for the four rounds in the Barclay’s Kenya Open at Karen Golf Club, Nairobi, which bagged him a prize of 1,820 euros.
The event attracted huge crowds and was won by South African Jake Roos on 10 under par, who received his trophy from Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta.
With his new improved category following his Tour School performance last December, it was a boost for Hanson to see his name so far up the list of entries.
But even with a couple of warm weather rounds in Dubai under his belt en route, it was still a nervous beginning to his 2014 campaign.
Hanson said: “It was a bit of an edgy start to life back on the Challenge Tour.
“As well as my preparation had gone, and winning at Fulford a few weeks back, you still never really know how you are going to perform under the real gun.
“In the first round, I managed to get round in plus one and that was a scrap.
“A chip-in on the 16th helped to restore a little confidence and gave me more of a chance to make the cut.”
With a level par in the second round, he just scraped into the cut, but then settled down and his game improved and a third round three-under par on a day when nobody was moving saw him shoot up the leaderboard 27 places to 30th.
His formative years on the course at Crosland Heath came in handy on the fourth day, which was windy once again. He played solidly, but struggled to get the ball close to the pin on the firm greens, however, holing out from the bunker on hole nine and birdying the last kept him on track for a one under par.
“I walked off the 18th very happy with my week’s work,” added Hanson.
“From just making the cut to finishing T23rd is a good weekend’s work and a positive start to the season.”
Hanson now has three weeks at home before the co-sanctioned event with the European Tour at La Reserva in Sotogrande, Spain. “I can’t wait”, he added.
Want to read, watch and hear more? You can download the FREE Examiner Apple App here, the FREE Examiner Android App here or you can view the paper as an e-edition on your Apple, Android or Kindle device by clicking here
To follow us on Twitter click here