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Hansen headlines 15 Challenge Tour graduates in Europe

Adri Arnaus, Joachim B. Hansen
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Adri Arnaus (L) and Joachim Hansen (R)  - 

Joachim Hansen hung on to the top spot in the Challenge Tour Order of Merit, headlining a group of 15 players who will graduate to the European Tour in 2019.

Hansen tied for 13th at the season-ending Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour Grand Final, retaining the top spot over Adri Arnaus who went wire-to-wire en route to victory in the United Arab Emirates. Hansen, who has three worldwide victories in 2018, became the first Dane to lead the Challenge Tour money list since Thomas Bjorn in 1995.

In addition to Hansen and Arnaus, the other players earning European Tour cards for 2019 included Victor Perez, Kalle Samooja, Sebastian Soderberg, Jack Singh Brar, Grant Forrest, Kim Koivu, Stuart Manley, Liam Johnston, Sean Crocker, Robert MacIntyre, Lorenzo Gagli and David Law.

The 15th and final spot went to Portugal's Pedro Figueiredo, who moved up from No. 17 with a T-13 finish on Sunday. That helped him edge out Tom Murray as well as Daan Huizing, who was in position to earn a European Tour card until a double bogey on the 71st hole Sunday dropped him behind Figueiredo.

The Challenge Tour is the European equivalent of the Tour and a primary pathway to European Tour status. The circuit counts among its notable recent grads Brooks Koepka, who started on the Challenge Tour in 2012 after first turning pro.