David Grace became the second winner of the new Challenge Tour after winning six matches across two days of action at the Preston Guild Hall this week.
The Englishman began the competition with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Jamie O’Neill before seeing off Simon Bedford, Phil O’Kane, and James Cahill in more comfortable fashion.
In the semi-finals, the 33 year-old edged Steven Hallworth in a close affair that went the distance before securing the £2,000 winner’s cheque with a whitewash success over Mitchell Mann in the final.
Grace, who reached the semi-finals of the UK Championship in as recently as 2015, struggled for good form during his last two seasons and duly dropped off the Main Tour as a result.
However, the Leeds potter is a great advocate of the amateur game in the UK and it isn’t surprising to see him already performing well as he supports the inaugural campaign of the Challenge Tour.
The series, which will encompass ten events across the UK and into mainland Europe, boasts a total prize fund of £100,000, with the top two on the final Order of Merit table gaining a ticket onto the pro circuit for next season.
Grace, who reached the last four in event one last month, is currently tied for first with countryman Brandon Sargeant, who backed up his triumph in June with a run to the semi-finals on Wednesday.
In fact, Grace, Sargeant, and this week’s runner-up Mann have reached the business end of both events and appear to be the players most likely to contend for those coveted Main Tour places by the end of this term.
The next event will take place at the end of this month and will be the first to be hosted outside the UK, with Challenge Tour 3 scheduled for Latvia just after the annual staging of the Riga Masters.