By Nick Totten, europeantour.com
From Golfclub Schloss Finkenstein
This week marks the sixth edition of the Kärnten Golf Open presented by Mazda, and one man who has teed it up in every single one, is promising Austrian talent Lukas Nemecz.
Hailing from Graz in Austria’s south east, the 24 year old tees it up on home soil this week looking to build on a decent start to the season, which has seen him finish in a tie for 29th at the Challenge de Catalunya and in a share of 16th at the recent Madeira Islands Open – Portugal – BPI.
This is Nemecz’s first full season on the Challenge Tour, having earned his place thanks to a fifth place finish on the Alps Tour Order of Merit in 2013, and he has been very impressed with what he has seen so far on European golf’s second tier.
“Since I started here on the Challenge Tour I have been very impressed, it is a really good Tour,” said Nemecz. “I played the Alps Tour last year, which was good, but it is a big difference being out here now. The organisation, the players, the courses, everything around the tournaments is good, and I’ve really enjoyed it so far. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.
“I started OK this year, didn’t feel great with my game at the beginning, but the results were still OK. That was a real positive for me, that I was able to make cuts and earn money in the Rankings, when I wasn’t playing my best. Now I feel like I am improving and getting better all the time, and as a result, I’m really excited for this week too.
Nemecz first teed it up at this event as a 19 year old amateur back in 2009. He missed the cut that week, but has played the weekend the past two years, finishing in a share of 42nd place 12 months ago.
The Austrian believes events like this are crucial for growing the game at home, and with plenty of compatriots on show this week, it is clear to see that golf is on the up in the Central European nation.
“I’ve played this event the last six years or so, and have made the past couple of cuts,” said the man currently residing in 50th place on the Challenge Tour Rankings. “It is really nice here, as Karnten is one of the best parts of Austria, so I just enjoy being here, it’s great. Hopefully there will be some spectators out over the weekend, and it should make for a good tournament.
“Golf is developing here, but it is still quite a small sport. The players are all improving a lot though, there are a lot of young players, great coaches, and I think in the coming years there will be some good Austrians coming through too.
“This tournament definitely helps promote the game here. It always helps to see how good the best players are, and there are a lot of young amateurs here this week that will see on this course, with this set up, that there will be plenty of low scores. They will see how good the best guys are and that will motivate them to get better I’m sure.”
As for his own game, Nemecz remains very positive, and rightly so. Having started so well in his maiden campaign it is clear that he has the talent, and as he continues to learn from his experiences out on the Challenge Tour, he is sure to be a name to watch out for in the weeks, months, or even years to come.
“Playing with better players is helping my game a lot as I’ve played plenty of rounds now with good players, more experienced players, and am learning so much. I have goals for the rest of the season, but for me it is still about getting better and seeing how I do.
“Top 30 in the Rankings at the end of the year would be a good result, to gain a better category for next year, and while top 15 can always happen, it is tough to plan for it. You just have to play really well and then we’ll see at the end of the season.”