After finishing sixth on his European Challenge Tour debut in the Belt and Road Colourful Yunnan Open earlier this month, Charlie Saxon is targeting another top-ten finish at this week’s Turkish Airlines Challenge.
The American will tee it up at Gloria Golf Club this week after receiving an invitation from Challenge Tour Director Alain De Soultrait and is aiming to build on his solid showing in China.
Born in Oklahoma in the United States, Saxon has previously plied his trade on various tours including PGA Tour Latinoamérica, the China Tour and the Web.com Tour, enjoying relative success.
The 24 year old already has two wins under his belt this season, both of which occurred on the China Tour.
A final round 66 clinched a one-shot victory at the Shenzhou Peninsula Classic as Saxon triumphed in his first tournament of the year.
Saxon then claimed another superb win at the China Tour’s second event of the year, the Bo Ao Open, by shooting four sublime rounds of 65-69-64-67 to extend his lead at the top of the tour’s Order of Merit.
Although he believes putting himself under too much pressure could have an adverse effect on his game, Saxon has his sights set on another high finish at this week’s Turkish Airlines Challenge.
“Obviously I would love to finish in the top ten in order to get into the Challenge de España,” the American said.
“That would be my goal for the week but I don’t think you can put too much pressure on yourself.
“It’s a great opportunity and I’ll come out here and play as well as I can but at the end of the day, putting extra pressure on yourself really isn’t going to help.”
Saxon has expressed his gratitude to the Challenge Tour for the invitation to play in Antalya this week and is feeling confident in his own game.
“I’m thankful to the sponsors and to Alain De Soultrait and it’s another opportunity to hopefully earn more money on this tour and potentially get through the re-rank,” he said.
“The course looks wonderful and the hotel we’re staying at is great. Everybody’s been really friendly so it should be a really good week.
“I’m confident in my game and I’m confident in my ability. At the end of the day, golf’s a game against the course and on this tour there’s certainly more players of a higher calibre than on some of the other tours I’m used to playing.
“Good golf’s good golf and I know if I’m playing good golf then I can compete and contend.
“I obviously recognise how difficult it is out here on the Challenge Tour. These are some of the best players in the world and I’m happy to be out here playing and I’m just thankful for the opportunity.”
Joining Saxon in Antalya is Road to Ras Al Khaimah Number One Lorenzo Gagli. The Italian is making his first Challenge Tour appearance since he won the season-opening Barclays Kenya Open – the most lucrative event of the 2018 campaign.
Also in the field this week is Belt and Road Colourful Yunnan Open champion Kim Koivu – the Finn will be looking to make it two victories in just his third Challenge Tour appearance as a professional.