Jesper Kennegard misses out on European Tour card after high tee issue
Holding a one-shot lead heading into the last day of the Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final at T-Golf & Country Club in Mallorca, the 33-year-old was on course to be among the 20 players securing a step up to the main circuit.
But it all went awry for Kennegard after one of his playing partners asked for rules officials to take a look at the height he tees the ball after that had been highlighted in a social media clip during Saturday’s third round.
Using a tape measure, officials deemed that he was not exceeding the four-inch limit but, after dropping a shot at the next hole, he went on to card an untidy 77 to finish 27th in the Road to Mallorca Rankings.
“It was strange obviously, but I won’t blame that,” said Kennegard of what had happened out on the course. “On the third, they asked me about my tees then another guy on number four. I don’t know why as I am pretty confident my tees are not too long providing they haven’t changed the rules.
“I do it for the trajectory and also to allow it to be more of a sweeping motion. What I thought was a little strange that no-one came back to me and said, ‘okay, you are good’. I think they could have done that since they brought it up.
“When you don’t know, you are unsure whether they might come up to you on the 15th hole and say, ‘you aren’t good’.”
Kennegard’s collapse opened the door for Marcus Helligkilde to become the third Dane to win the Road to Mallorca Rankings after securing his third victory of the season.
The 25-year-old’s win - he closed with a one-over 72 for an eight-under 276 total - saw him climb two places in the standings as he joined Thomas Bjørn (1995) and JB Hansen (2018) in becoming the Challenge Tour No 1.
“I didn’t have a full status at the beginning of the year and I was just trying to get into the top 70,” said Helligkilde, who won the Swiss Challenge and Vierumäki Finnish Challenge earlier this season.
He finished 34,337 points clear of second-placed Ricardo Gouveia from Portugal, with Spain’s Santiago Tarrio third.
Frenchman Julien Brun graduated in fourth place, with countryman Frederic Lacroix one place further back.
Alfredo Garcia Heredia, from Spain, finished in sixth position, while South African Oliver Bekker, Scot Ewen Ferguson, Germany’s Yannik Paul and Austrian Lukas Nemecz rounded out the top ten.
Marcel Schneider graduated in 11th place, followed by Norwegian Espen Kofstad, American Chase Hanna, Chilean Hugo Leon and Germany’s Marcel Siem.
Denmark’s Niklas Nørgaard Møller was the only man to make a final day move into the top 20, graduating in 16th place.
Germany’s Hurly Long finished 17th, one spot ahead of Englishman Andrew Wilson, who birdied four of the last five holes to climb back inside the top 20.
Craig Howie graduated in 19th position while the final card went to Dutchman Daan Huizing, who finished just 2,429 points ahead of big-hitting South African Wilco Nienaber.
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