Bryce Easton carded a one-under-par 71 on Thursday in the opening round of the Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final supported by The R&A at Club de Golf Alcanada in Port d’Alcúdia, Mallorca, Spain.
Easton made two birdies and a bogey to take him to 71, just three strokes off the lead which was shared by Scotland’s Euan Walker and Javier Sainz of Spain on four-under-par 68. They were one shot clear of Dimension Data Pro-Am champion Alexander Knappe of Germany, England’s Todd Clements and Frenchman Jeong weon Ko, who were all on three-under.
One shot behind Easton were JC Ritchie and Deon Germishuys, the other two South Africans to have made the final event of the Challenge Tour season. Ritchie made a birdie and a bogey in his opening round, while Germishuys made three birdies and three bogeys.
Ritchie is assured of earning his DP World Tour card for the 2023 season, as he currently lies second on the Challenge Tour rankings. The top 20 at the end of this season-ending tournament will earn their cards, and Ritchie won’t fall out of that list. He is projected to finish fourth as things stand. He will want to assure himself of a top-three position, as those players will get more starts next year.
Germishuys is projected to drop three places into 20th, and while that assures him of his card, he will want to make doubly sure by finishing well – or at least better than he is right now.
Easton has a lot of work to do: he is projected to climb four places to 34th, so he will have to improve substantially on his current share of 13th to earn his card for next year.