With off-season changes starting to pay off, Moritz Lampert enters the Hauts de France – Pas de Calais Golf Open full of confidence and showing the same sort of game that saw him win three times on the European Challenge Tour in 2014. We caught up with the 27-year-old German following his tied second place finish last week.
It was a strong week for you last week. How are you feeling about your game these days?
To be honest, I had been playing so poorly for almost two years that I needed to make a change. I started working with a new coach and that’s been paying dividends so far this year. I played on the Pro Golf Tour earlier this year and had four top fives in seven events and was able to win there, and then had a 17th at the Turkish Airlines Challenge where I shot 17 under par for four rounds, which I thought was pretty good except the other guys went crazy. I was hoping to play more after that, but Switzerland was only my second Challenge Tour event of the year.
You received an invitation into the Swiss Challenge Presented by Swiss Golf, it must have been nice to make the most of it?
It’s a place that is close to my heart. It’s only three hours from home and I won the Swiss Amateur at Golf Sempachersee in 2008. I’ve always felt comfortable there, even though I’ve only made the cut at the Swiss Challenge once before. I knew I was playing well, and to finish second was a bonus, and it got me into this week, which I’m really looking forward to.
Speaking of this week, Aa Saint-Omer Golf Club has been known to test players, what do you make of it?
It’s just really hard. It’s not that hard off the tee, but you have to hit it in the right spots and then coming into the green, it’s just really hard. It also depends on the weather. Usually we get a lot of wind here and that really adds to the difficulty. I think if you can keep your head in the right place, and you can deal with a few bad bounces here and there, which everyone is going to get, you can do well. It’s one of the few weeks—which we want all year— where the winning score isn’t 25 or 30 under par. If you shoot four rounds around level or just under par, you’re going to be right there on Sunday.
Does your success in 2019 on the Pro Golf Tour and on the Challenge Tour bring back some of those winning feelings from the past?
To be honest, the way I was swinging the club at the end of last year, there was no way I was going to contend. I had to learn it the hard way. But I worked hard through the winter to change my practice routine and change my technique. Nowadays, a lot of people will tell you that you don’t need to work on your technique and you just have to be completely performance oriented. I was of the opinion that my technique was not good enough, and then the early success this year confirmed I was doing the right things. It was nice to get a win for sure, but just shooting low scores and consistently posting under par rounds was really important for me. What I really liked was that I felt calm last week on Sunday. I knew the leaderboard was so tight, but I never got ahead of myself, I just played the holes and then obviously chipped in on 17—I couldn’t write it any better.
Is it one week at a time for the rest of the season now, or do you now establish some longer term goals for the year?
To be fair, two days ago, I didn’t have any category. I wasn’t in the field this week and I was considering playing the Pro Golf Tour for the rest of the season to make sure I would play the Challenge Tour next season. Obviously, finishing second last week changes my season, but my coach keeps me grounded so I can’t get carried away.
Who have you been working with and what are you working on?
His name is Ian Holloway—shout out to Max Kieffer who put me in touch with him. I’m good friends with Max and when my season finished early last year I knew I was going to make a change, so I talked to Max and he said, "Just go see Ian, he’s brilliant." And he was absolutely right, I couldn’t be happier to work with him. We’re results orientated, but we’re also process orientated, and he’s really helped me eliminate some bad habits that were making my swing too reliant on timing. The biggest thing is that I just enjoy playing golf again, and that’s a great thing.