The ISPS Handa World Invitational Men | Women, Presented by Modest! Golf Management could be a watershed moment for golf and two people who are fervent supporters of the format are brother and sister duo Moritz and Karolin Lampert.
Moritz, a European Challenge Tour member, and Karolin, a former Junior Solheim Cup player, last played an event together as amateurs eight years ago and they spoke to the Challenge Tour on the eve of the World Invitational.
Here we are the ISPS Handa World Invitational Men | Women, Presented by Modest! Golf Management. How excited are you both to be here competing together?
ML: This is my fourth time here at Galgorm Castle and it’s always set up really well, like a European Tour event. I played Massereene yesterday and I really liked it. I think events like this are the way forward for the Challenge Tour and the ladies game. It’s a lot more fun for us, to interact with each other. I think the last time we played together was seven or eight years ago, at the German Individual Strokeplay. I would love to see an event where I can play with Karolin rather than against her, but obviously this week is very innovative. What Modest! Golf and ISPS Handa have put on here is just brilliant.
KL: This is my first time in Northern Ireland and it’s a great event. Playing two courses will be a little bit tricky, but it will be a good test. I played in Jordan when we actually played with the men for one purse, which was a great event as well. It’s good to have players nights and functions so we can all get to know each other better and I hope we’ll have a few more events like this, because everyone seems to enjoy it.
What are the main differences between the two courses this week and what challenges does that bring?
KL: I actually haven’t played Galgorm yet and I’ve only walked nine holes, but Massereene was in great shape. The front nine is a little bit wetter than the back nine but I think if you keep the ball in play, both courses are quite scoreable. If you hit the fairway on both courses, you’ll do well here.
ML: Galgorm has always been a course which has been set up really well with high rough and it highlights good long game. If you hit it on the fairway, it plays fairly short. It’s going to play a bit longer this week because the fairways are softer than they have been in the last few years. We are quite used to the rough so I think it’s even more important to hit the fairways for the ladies because the rough can be quite severe when it starts raining. The women could struggle if they miss the fairway but they are more accurate than us.
KL: Well that’s what they say, anyway! I’ve heard that a couple of times in the last few days from various players.
ML: We played a practice round at Massereene together and it was actually quite enjoyable to play from the same tees. Obviously when she hits driver I’m hitting a hybrid or whatever, but the game plan is still pretty much the same. You aim for a spot and whatever you need to hit to get it to that spot, that’s the club you have to go with.
What’s it like to play an event together, as brother and sister?
KL: It’s been a long time since we last played in an event together. Unfortunately, Mo wasn’t able to play in Jordan as he didn’t get in but I think it’s great to be here. It was nice to play a practice round together – we play together quite a lot when we’re not at tournaments, so we’re used to seeing each other’s game and helping each other out a little bit, so I think it’s good fun for both of us.
ML: It brings a little bit more of a relaxed attitude to it as well. We play together, we practice together and we have the odd match when we’re at home, so it’s enjoyable.
Who normally wins?
KL: It’s pretty tight at the moment I would say!
ML: I’ve lost the last few but I’m clawing it back! I’m trying to get the count towards me.
KL: It’s pretty close most of the time.
ML: Yeah, it is close, but the bragging rights are big!
You’re quite competitive with each other, then?
KL: I think we both want to win if we play against each other, even if it’s nine holes at our home course during a week of practice. We still want to play well.
ML: At least I’m better at table tennis! We have a table tennis table at home on the driving range and I normally win there. If I lose at golf we head over there and I even it out.
You both had aspirations to be professional golfers growing up, did you spur each other on to reach your goals?
KL: Mo turned pro a year before me and I think I learned a lot from his experience in the first couple of years of being a pro. We talk a lot about life on tour and how we can work on a few things. I think we can definitely learn from each other in that respect. He helped me a lot in the first couple of years when I struggled a little bit. Even now, if I feel a little bit nervous at a tournament I’ll just send him a text and he really keeps me going.
ML: I’m the older one and we have an older brother as well who is good at golf but he decided to become a doctor, so he’s the only one with a proper job! I think it’s good to have somebody in the family who you can talk to. It’s quite a different lifestyle and I think somebody who isn’t a professional athlete sometimes doesn’t understand what we go through. To have somebody that close who you can talk to is really nice. When you have somebody there who knows what you’re going through, it’s big. We have a really close relationship and even though we don’t see each other that often, we still live in the same town at home and practice together.