By Nick Totten, europeantour.com
From Golfclub Schloss Finkenstein
After a maiden campaign on The European Tour blighted by injury, and perhaps a little inexperience, Moritz Lampert is back on the Challenge Tour and feels better than ever as he prepares for this week’s Kärnten Golf Open presented by Mazda.
He comes to the south Austrian state of Carinthia on the back of his best Challenge Tour result, a tie for fifth at last week’s Turkish Airlines Open, brimming with confidence ahead of his third start of the season.
Earlier in the year he finished in a share of 29th place at the Barclays Kenya Open, and as he is relying on invites from tournament promoters, it is essential that he continue the strong form he has shown so far in order to regain full status on the Challenge Tour.
Heading into this week at 32nd on the Rankings the young German seems relaxed, and clearly very confident, so it would be no surprise if he were to excel once again in a country that almost seems like home.
“I’ve always liked Austria,” said the man attached to Golf Club St Leon-Rot, part of the European Tour Properties network. “Everyone understands us here, the food is amazing, and the golf course is really good so I’m looking forward to the week.
“It is just nice to come to a golf course where you don’t have to always hit the ball straight. It is a little more open, and definitely easier than last week, so the scoring will be lower. It reminds me of back home, and the greens are awesome, so it should be a pretty good test.
“I was happy with the result last week, especially as it should give me a couple more chances to play throughout the season so we will see what comes as I am feeling good.
“I’ll get the last bit of practice done, then chill, as last week was quite tiring, with how tough the course was playing. It was mentally exhausting. So I’ll get some rest, get some good schnitzel, and we’ll see what we can do.”
Clear to see, then, that Lampert is in a great place with his game, and he puts that down to his preparation over the winter, something that was not afforded to him when he earned his European Tour card at the Qualifying School Final Stage at the end of 2012.
Heading straight from amateur golf to the top of the professional game proved to be too great a leap at first, but lessons have been learned after a 184th place finish on The Race to Dubai last year. Since then he has claimed a maiden title on the Pro Golf Tour this February, and he is excited to try and replicate that feat on the Challenge Tour this season.
“I had a tough year last year," said Lampert. "I think I learned a lot from that experience, and that is what counts, trying to get better every day and not get your head down after a bad week.
“I wasn’t ready for the courses when I started on The European Tour, coming straight from amateur level through the Tour School, but the courses were so much tougher than what I was used to. I also got injured for a few weeks mid-season, just when I started to play better too, and that threw me back a little.
“This season though I had some good preparation through the winter, as I had two or three weeks off, which helped. I went and trained with the national team, spent some time with my coaches, and was able to change a few things. I couldn’t do that last year as I went straight to South Africa after Q-School, had a week off, then went to Qatar and Dubai.
“This year is just set up better for me to play well. I have learned how many tournaments to play to get the best out of myself. Last year I played too many after my injury as I felt I needed to, but without any preparation.
“I know now it is much better for me to prepare for three weeks in a row, rather than play seven straight, as you practice at a tournament, but you are preparing more for Thursday, so it is not the same.
“I think I am learning as I go, how to deal with this lifestyle. I have good coaches around me, a good team, so it is a learning experience. I just hope it points to another good result this week. That’s why we’re all here, isn’t it!”
The Challenge Tour. Where Heroes Are Made.