Martin Wiegele is a big believer in fate, which is why he has been looking forward to this week ever since it was announced that the Norwegian Challenge would be held at Miklagard Golf Club.
In August 2007, the Austrian beat George Murray in a play-off at the Lexus Open, which was staged at Robert Trent Jones Jnr’s stunning creation, the renowned architect’s first course in Norway.
Seven years on, Wiegele is back in Oslo and seeking to rebuild a career which has been hampered in recent seasons by injury.
Like many golfers, Wiegele is the superstitious sort but unlike many golfers he has every reason to be, having made an ace on the same hole in the final round of the same tournament two years running.
That stunning coincidence in the 2010 Kärnten Golf Open ultimately led to victory, and on his very next appearance two weeks later Wiegele won again in Saint-Omer to secure instant promotion to The European Tour.
He finished 83rd in The 2011 Race to Dubai and was confident of building on such solid foundations, before injury struck the following year. But the 36 year old is now back on the Challenge Tour, and hoping a return to the scene of his maiden triumph can have a galvanising effect on his career.
He said: “I have great memories of my win here in 2007, because it was the moment when I started playing some really good golf. I had already been on the main Tour in 2004, but I soon realised my game wasn’t where it needed to be.
“So I began working with some Swedish coaches, and I started seeing some real improvements in 2007. After my win here at Miklagard I got my card for the main Tour exactly three months later when I won the Qualifying School, so it was a great time in my life and it’s good to come back here.”
Indeed, Wiegele is just happy to be playing again, having been side-lined for eight months after undergoing hip surgery twice.
Perhaps inevitably, Wiegele felt somewhat rusty on his return to competitive action last season and subsequently failed to retain his European Tour privileges; but the Graz native is now fully fit, pain-free and more determined than ever before to succeed in the game.
He said: “I didn’t feel competitive and my fitness wasn’t as good as it should have been when I came back last year, but I had a good winter and that’s all in the past now. I’m starting to play well again, and hopefully I can get my game back to the level it was a couple of years ago. I’m around 60th place in the Rankings so I need to start climbing pretty quickly, but hopefully this week can be the start of something good again.
“After what happened at the Kärnten Golf Open in Austria, I’m a big believer in things repeating themselves. So hopefully I can play well again this week and go on another good run of form. It’s happened here before, so why can’t it happen again?”