Benjamin Rusch in Top 30 in Girona

Benjamin rusch Low Res 3

The second tournament on the Empordà Links in Girona was not quite as successful as the first one from a Swiss point of view: Only Benjamin Rusch made it into the prize money at the Challenge Costa Brava. The player from Thurgau thus secures full playing rights for the Challenge Tour 2022.

The Challenge Tour was hosted in Catalonia during two weeks. More precisely: at the Empordà Golf Club, which is located east of Girona not far from the Mediterranean coast and has two 18-hole championship courses. Last week, the Empordà Challenge was played on the Empordà Links Course - 6304 metres long, par 71 - with a prize money of 200,000 euros. This week, the Costa Brava Challenge, also with a prize money of 200,000 euros, was played on the same course. However, the conditions were much more difficult, i.e. more wind, which was reflected in the scores. Three players from the Swiss Golf Team were again at the start, but this week only Benjamin Rusch from Thurgau made it into the final rounds and thus into the prize money. Jeremy Freiburghaus (third the previous week) and Joel Girrbach failed to make the cut with a score of one over par.

Benjamin Rusch secures Challenge Tour ticket for 2022

Benjamin Rusch's performance was extremely solid throughout both weeks. On Tuesday he started well into the Challenge Costa Brava with a par round - three birdies, three bogeys, twelve pars - and thus created the basis for another result in the prize money. With further daily scores of 69, 68 and 70 strokes, he finally fought his way to six under par for the tournament and final rank 29. On Friday afternoon, he nevertheless gives a mixed review: "A good tournament for me, I played solidly, my long game was great." But then comes the big "but": "My putter was really ice cold the last two weeks. I lost two strokes per round on the greens. If my putting had been anywhere near normal, I could have done a lot better here in Catalonia," says the 32-year-old, annoyed. "It's frustrating to play eight rounds on this links course and never, really never, find the momentum - despite a really good long game."

For Rusch - as for the other Swiss on the Challenge Tour - the season ended at the Challenge Costa Brava. Only the top 45 in the annual rankings are eligible to compete at the tour finale in Mallorca at the beginning of November. The Swiss missed this target. But Benjamin Rusch achieved another goal: "Just like Jeremy Freiburghaus, I have now secured full eligibility for the 2022 Challenge Tour here in Girona." Looking back, the 2021 season was "okay" for the Thurgau native: "I started the year well, but in the summer I unfortunately couldn't quite match the results and performances I had achieved in South Africa."

Freiburghaus and Girrbach not in the cut

Unfortunately, Jeremy Freiburghaus from Graubünden was not able to repeat his performance of the previous week in Catalonia. Last week, he had played four rounds under par, but on Tuesday, at the start of the Challenge Costa Brava, he shot his first round of 72 (one over par) on this links course. On the second day, the 25-year-old had to play in the afternoon session, which could not be completed on the same day due to weather conditions. Freiburghaus was able to play eleven holes on Wednesday, but was then - despite an eagle on the 18th - at four over par for the day. On Thursday morning, he attacked and was able to make two birdies on the remaining holes of round 2. With a final double bogey on the ninth hole, this resulted in a total of five over par and an early end to the tournament for the player from Graubünden.

Joel Girrbach suffered a similar fate. He had also stayed below the course standard in all four rounds on this course the previous week, but had to sign a 74 card on Tuesday. The player from Thurgau played in the first two rounds of the Challenge Costa Brava in the flight behind Freiburghaus. Thus it is clear: Girrbach was also unable to finish the second round on Wednesday. At the break, the 28-year-old had completed ten holes of the second round and was at two over par for the day. At the re-start on Thursday morning, Girrbach played a birdie on the two - he recorded further stroke wins on the four, the six and the eight. Unfortunately, he made a double bogey on the seventh, so that in the end it was "only" a par round. With a total of 3 over par, he missed the cut by two strokes.

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