Antoine Rozner has been named Challenge Tour Graduate of the Year after finishing in 26th place on the Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex, just a week after earning his maiden European Tour victory at the Golf in Dubai Championship presented by DP World.
The 27-year-old becomes the first Frenchman to receive the award and adds his name to an illustrious list of former winners including Byeong Hun An, Brooks Koepka and last year’s Graduate of the Year, Robert MacIntyre.
Rozner earned his first European Tour title at Jumeirah Golf Estates’ Fire Course just over a week ago after coming from four shots back to claim a two-stroke victory. He also secured a runner-up finish at the AFRASIA BANK Mauritius Open – losing out in a play-off to Rasmus Højgaard – one third place finish and three further top tens in his maiden season on the European Tour.
“I’ve had a really good season, I’m very happy,” Rozner said. “My game was very consistent throughout the season, I only missed two cuts so that was a really good result for me. I could not have done much more so I’m very happy to be made Challenge Tour Graduate of the Year. It is such a nice group of guys from last year’s Challenge Tour, so it’s nice.
“It means a lot. It’s a reward for all the hard work and the nice results you’ve had throughout the year. To be able to put my name on the list next to such big names is an honour and hopefully I can do as well as them in the future.”
Rozner’s impressive first European Tour win in Dubai came courtesy of four rounds in the 60s, including a sublime closing eight under par round of 64, and he admits he drew on his Challenge Tour experiences to get over the line on the Fire Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
“The Challenge Tour helped me a lot,” he said. “I won twice early in the season last year and you have to learn how to win. I was telling other people, one round that really helped me was the Italian Challenge last year. I had a three-shot lead going into the last round and it was similar scoring conditions to the Golf in Dubai Championship.
“You had to go super low in every round and I didn’t win on that day in Italy, but I think it really helped me and I learned a lot because I knew to win you had to go out there and shoot a low one again on Sunday. I couldn’t do it last year on Challenge Tour, but I was just ready for it now. I think that without the Challenge Tour and without learning how to win, I wouldn’t have been able to do it.”
The two-time Challenge Tour winner missed only two cuts in 2020 and he attributes his success to staying true to himself and sticking to the approach which saw him finish eighth on the Road to Mallorca Rankings in 2019.
“My advice would be to just keep on doing what you’re doing,” he said. “It’s very tough to graduate from the Challenge Tour and there is no reason why, if you play well on the Challenge Tour, that you can’t be any different at the next level. I haven’t changed anything and just kept doing my own thing. Me and my caddy were talking about how nothing really needs to change to be in contention because my game has been so good.”