Martin Ovesen returns to Mount Wolseley Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort keen to replicate or better his top five finish in last year’s Irish Challenge.
The Dane shot four rounds of par or better – a feat only matched by winner Bernd Ritthammer – on his way to a share of fourth place 12 months ago as stormy weather made for tough scoring in Carlow.
Ovesen has been consistent all season, missing only one cut since the end of May, but he knows he needs another week and result like last year’s if he is to make headway on the Road to Oman.
“It’s really nice to be back,” said the 26 year old. “Last year was great. It was tough weather but I really did well under those conditions but it looks better this week so I’m really looking forward to it.
“I took a lot of confidence from my result here. Last year I was playing on invites and did quite well, got myself into the final events of the season, and I’m trying to get my game back to that level.
“I’ve been struggling a bit with my putter and not really had the results I wanted but I think I’ve been improving in the last couple of weeks so I feel I can get a good result in the next few events.
“I’ve made a lot of cuts but not really been up there – I’ve been top 20, top 30, top 40, but never really in contention to win the tournaments.
“I’ve been steady off the tee but not really good enough with my approaches or with my putter so I definitely need some improvements for a top ten or a top five.
“One good week in the right week and you’re on the European Tour. The focus is now to have just one good week and try to let the first two rounds just get you into the weekend and then, after making the cut, try to play yourself into the top five.”
The top 15 of the Rankings, consequently earning a European Tour card, is the goal and, with just seven tournaments remaining this season, each week takes on a heightened significance for those on the fringes.
Ovesen’s position of 52nd on the Road to Oman can quickly improve with one good result and he is hoping that a return to a happy hunting ground in Ireland can give him the boost he needs this week.
“It’s a great course,” he said. “The condition of the course is perfect, the rough is up a bit so if you’re not hitting the fairways you won’t be able to go for the pins, the greens are superb.
“Just in general, the facilities here are pretty much perfect, and it’s one of the better events of the year that’s for sure.
“I think the course sets up pretty well for me. I’m pretty straight off the tee, hit a lot of fairways, so that should play to my advantage, but I’ll have to be good with the wedges this week and putt well – it’s a tough course but it’s a good test, and if you play well you can score well.“Even though I’m about 50 now, I have a lot of good opportunities to play myself into the top 15, so I’m just going to try to keep working on my game and improving.”