Saturday, 10 August 2013
Espen Kofstad (Jan E. Espelid/  (EuropeanTour)
Espen Kofstad (Jan E. Espelid/ (EuropeanTour)
Espen Kofstad is hoping that a cameo appearance on the European Challenge Tour at this week’s Norwegian Challenge over his home course can kick-start his rookie season on The European Tour as he chases some big results in the latter stages of the year.

The 25 year old won twice on the Challenge Tour last year, including at the prestigious Grand Final, to become the first Norwegian to win the Rankings and earn a place in The 2013 Race to Dubai.

Kofstad makes a special guest appearance this week at the Norwegian Challenge, his first Challenge Tour event since holing the winning putt at last year’s Grand Final in Italy, and he is delighted to return to his old stomping ground and show some of his friends around.

“It’s really weird being here for a golf tournament,” said Kofstad. “But it’s really nice, I'm just trying to enjoy the week.
“It’s nice to meet a lot of the guys from last year and just be at home. The people here are really friendly and I'm here basically here every day when I'm home.

 “Obviously we didn’t need the rain, this course is built on flood level so we need it to be sunny. I think the greens have held off really well. The fairways get a little wet but you could hardly tell that we have had so much rain when you’re out there.”

The Olso man has struggled with injury on his rookie season on The European Tour, adding further pressure to the many burdens faced on a maiden season in The Race to Dubai, but he is starting to feel better physically and thinks a turning point may just be around the corner.

“It’s been tough going really,” he admitted. “I didn’t get off to the best start in the world and then when I eventually played well at the Open de España I got a hip injury so I haven’t actually practised much since then.

“I did practise a lot around Sweden and Wentworth because I felt really healthy but I think I overdid it in France and hurt my neck that’s still hanging around a bit.

“All I've done is work really hard all the time but I couldn’t practise my putting very much for a while because I couldn’t stand bent over my ball for very long.

“It puts that bit of tentativeness into the mindset instead of being able to prepare like I want to. Last week, for example, I was home for a week and all I could play was nine holes, even though all I wanted to do was hit balls and play golf all day long. It just hasn’t happened so far.

“It can only get better though. I have still enjoyed it a lot, we get so spoiled at the big events and it’s just a great place to be, but only if you’re playing well.

“I feel like last year I earned my place in The European Tour and I didn’t even find my form until July of last year so I'm hoping to get a good week this week and practise and use this as a practise round for Gleneagles and the rest of the year.”

It is only fond memories that Kofstad has of the Challenge Tour and, having had plenty of time to reflect upon his incredible year last year, it is a season he will never forget.

“The first year I was on the Challenge Tour was just a big grind and there were a lot of ups and downs,” he said. “But I kept feeling like I got better every tournament and I settled down at the end of the first year, finishing top 40 in the Rankings.

“Last year I just picked up from where I left off and then just won in Italy and all the pressure was off. I got into the big events and then I felt like I could everybody when I teed it up. It was just a good ride, I felt I could have a bad day and still shoot two under.

“When I played well I didn’t make any bogeys. I just need to find that calmness that I found last year. I played so well and practised so well last season I felt like it was bound to click so I'm just hoping that happens for me soon this year, maybe in Gleneagles in two weeks.”

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