Andrew Tampion knows he has a tough task on his hands as he returns to defend his Telenet Trophy title against a field he says is “as good as you’ll see on the Challenge Tour” at Ravenstein Royal Golf Club of Belgium this week.
The Australian made his first appearance of the season at the Madeira Islands Open – Portugal two weeks ago and couldn’t get into his stride after a long winter break, but he is looking forward to sinking his teeth into the 2012 Challenge Tour schedule as he attempts to regain a card for The European Tour after a two year absence.
What better way to begin that mission with a title defence and, while Tampion is not returning to Royal Waterloo course where he claimed the Telenet Trophy last year, he is relishing the challenge of retaining his title on the new venue in Tervuren, just outside Brussels.
“I’m definitely keen to get stuck into it now,” said the 27 year old, who finished 39th in the Challenge Tour Rankings last year. “Madeira was my first event since last year so it was a little bit disappointing to go straight into such a big event for the Challenge Tour and not play well but I didn’t play too bad. I was just a little bit rusty.
“The game is starting to feel good now and hopefully I can start off pretty well and get back to where I belong. It definitely gives me a bit of a boost to be coming back to defend my title. I really enjoyed the course we played the last couple of years and played well there any time I played it.
“But I’ve heard this is a good golf course as well and I've heard they’re pretty similar too in terms of design and all so I’m looking forward to it.”
All of the winners from the regular Challenge Tour events so far this year – Max Kieffer, Phil Archer, Seve Benson and Eddie Pepperell – are present at Ravenstein Royal Golf Club of Belgium this week, as well as numerous European Tour winners including Nick Dougherty, John Parry and Scott Strange.
So Tampion knows he is up against it this week if he is to claim the lion’s share of the €160,000 on offer and, with it, his third Challenge Tour title.
“With the BMW PGA Championship on at the same time in Wentworth, the guys that haven’t made it into that are coming down here so this is probably as good a field as you’ll see on the Challenge Tour this year,” he said.
“The game’s feeling pretty good at the moment though, so I just need to get out there and play and get a bit of momentum going forward. I’ll try not to put too much pressure on myself. I have a bit of catching up to do on the Rankings but it only takes a couple of good weeks out here and there are plenty of events to get the money up so I’m just going to try and get myself in good positions every week.”
Andreas Hartø will be hoping to claim his first win of what has already been an extremely consistent season, finishing third at the Madeira Islands Open – Portugal to move to second in the Challenge Tour Rankings, while his Danish compatriot Morten Orum Madsen is still looking for a first career win after a tied 11th place finish in Madeira continued his fine start to his rookie season.It is the first time the Telenet Trophy will take place on the stunning Ravenstein Royal Golf Club of Belgium as the Royal Belgium Golf Federation celebrates its centenary year.