Max Kieffer believes he is close to returning to the form which brought him the first European Challenge Tour title of this season as he travels to the inaugural Challenge Provincia di Varese this week at Golf Club Varese in Luvinate, Italy.
The German claimed the Gujarat Kensville Challenge title in January thanks to a nerveless play-off victory over local favourite Rahil Gangjee in India, but has struggled to replicate that form recently.
A tied 17th place finish at last week’s Scottish Hydro Challenge hosted by Macdonald Hotels and Resorts, however, has given the German his best finish since his maiden Challenge Tour title and he believes that he is close to being back to his best.
“I definitely think I'm close to getting back to the kind of form I had in India,” said Kieffer, who turned 22 on Monday. “I'm really hitting a lot of good shots and my putting has been really good so if I just stay patient and not get down on myself after a bad week and keep playing with confidence I think it will come again.
“I haven’t played as well as I thought I might this season. You start to get down on yourself and think about it too much, but I guess that’s golf. I played OK at a few tournaments but it was just two or three bad holes that cost me.
“At the moment I'm just having two or three bad holes every day and that’s the difference between a good week and a really good week. Every day I'm making bogeys with a wedge in my hand with bad tactics and that’s all it is.
“It’s definitely an experience thing. There are more than150 players most weeks and they're all playing really well and if you don’t finish top ten you’re a bit disappointed, so about 140 players are disappointed every week. You have to get used to it because it’s not always easy.”
Having secured one of his best results of 2011 in Italy last season with an 11th place finish in the Acaya Open 2011, Kieffer is looking forward to returning for the first of four tournaments in the Mediterranean nation.
“It’s a great country to play in,” he said. “The food is good, the weather is good and the courses are in good shape so it’s definitely a nice country.”
Kieffer will be joined at the €160,000 event this week by an extremely strong field including six more Challenge Tour winners from the 2012 season – Phil Archer (Pacific Rubiales Colombia Classic), Seve Benson (Barclays Kenya Open), Marco Crespi (Telenet Trophy), Edoardo De La Riva (Fred Olsen Challenge de España) and Gary Stal (Kärnten Golf Open presented by Mazda).
European Tour winners in the field include José-Filipe Lima, Scott Strange and Daniel Vancsik, while Gary Lockerbie will be looking to return to the top of the Challenge Tour Rankings after being displaced by Magnus A Carlsson after the Swede finished third in Scotland last week.
Home favourites in the field include Alessandro Tadini, Matteo Delpodio and promising 16 year old Domenico Geminiani.