The Scotsman claimed his maiden Challenge Tour title at the Challenge Provincia di Varese a fortnight ago and returns to action this week at Golf Sempachersee, near Lucerne in Switzerland, with his eyes on the prize once again.Having won on The European Tour in 1996 at the Cannes Open, it was Russell’s first title on the continent in 16 years and the 39 year old wants to ride the wave of confidence and claim another win this week.
“I do feel a bit more confident after the win,” said Russell. “I've been playing well. I did some practice last week and it went well so I'm looking forward to getting going again.“I won’t lose any focus after the win. There’s half of the season to go so there’s a lot more to do. The win will make no difference if I don’t make the goals I set myself at the start of the year and get a European Tour card, so I’ll try and move on from that and try and win this week. That’s what everybody is here for.”
While it may have been tempting to take the foot off the pedal during the week-long break after his win in Italy, Russell says that he has kept his work rate up in order to capitalise on the momentum provided by the victory.“I tend to do a bit more practice if I'm playing well to be honest,” said the Edinburgh native. “It sounds silly but I practise less if I'm playing badly because you end up tying yourself up in knots so I try and keep it as simple as possible.
“I think the pressure is just the same as before. I don’t bother with outside pressure, I put enough pressure on myself - it comes from within - so you just have to try and manage that.”The picturesque Golf Sempachersee is the venue this week and, while the weather may not be quite as balmy as Luvinate two weeks ago, Russell is looking forward to the challenge.
“I played here a couple of years ago and it’s coming back to me a little bit,” he said. “Everything’s pretty much in front of you apart from one or two tee shots, but I remember the course was in good condition so I'm looking forward to getting going.”Russell is joined in the field this week by seven fellow winners on the Challenge Tour this year – Phillip Archer, Seve Benson, Marco Crespi, Eduardo De La Riva, Max Kieffer, Eddie Pepperell and Gary Stal.
There are also a number of fellow European Tour winners present, including 2010 Vivendi Cup winner John Parry, 2009 Madrid Masters champion Ross McGowan and former Ryder Cup player Peter Baker, who is also a two time winner of the Credit Suisse Challenge.All of the Challenge Tour Rankings’ top five players are in attendance including the current Number One Gary Lockerbie, while nine-time runner up on The European Tour and star of The 2008 Ryder Cup, Oliver Wilson, plays his first regular Challenge Tour event of the season.