Stuart Manley is looking forward to returning to Finland as the European Challenge Tour lands in Turku this week for the GANT Open at Aura GC.
The Welshman has fond memories of this event after claiming his maiden professional victory in 2013, taking a four shot lead into the final round and holding off Portugal’s José-Filipe Lima to win by two shots at Kytӓjӓ Golf.
This year the tournament has a new home, Aura GC, and a new title sponsor, and Manley was close to skipping the event after playing non-stop for more than a month, but the lure of returning to Finland proved too strong to resist.
“I have very fond memories of Finland and of this tournament,” said the 36 year old. “This is the end of a run of six tournaments for me so I was close to pulling out but because of the memories from two years ago I thought I would play again.
“It was great two years ago. I was leading pretty much all week and to hang on in the last round there and be leading going into the last day, then close it out for my first Challenge Tour win, was pretty special. I have great memories and I had a good year that year as well, so it was great.
“I had been leading in tournaments before but never finished the job off so it was even more satisfactory to actually get that win, it meant a lot.
“I was under a lot of pressure because I had been last group a lot of times on the Challenge Tour and ended up with a lot of second places so to get the win meant a lot. It shows that you can play and win under pressure.
“I asked a couple of the Finnish lads about the new course and they said it should suit me.
“It’s an old school golf course, a bit shorter than normal, fiddly, you’ve got to position your golf ball well, and that normally suits me"