After securing his European Tour card through the Challenge Tour in 2000 he went on to fulfil his next ambition with victory in the 2001 North West of Ireland Open to secure a one year exemption on The European Tour. Made his future even more secure when he won The TNT Open at Hilversumche Golf Club in 2002. Laid the foundations for victory with a first round 60, at the time, only the tenth time such a score had been recorded in European Tour history. Could not secure victory for the third year running in 2003 and a disappointing season saw him finish 155th on the Volvo Order of Merit, but his playing privileges were assured by the exemption from the win in The Netherlands. Ironically, a golfing career was not high on his list of priorities as a child. His first choice was to be a soccer professional as his father, Werner, played for Nüremburg. But a damaged Achilles tendon when a teenager put paid to that. Took up golf at the age of 13 when on a Club Med holiday in Portugal. Back home, a friend of his father took him along to his golf club and he had lessons from Englishman David Blakeman, who is still his coach. Was down to scratch at the age of 16 and after representing Bavaria, played for the German National team from 1994 and was their Number One amateur for two years. Attended the University of Frankfurt where he studied biochemistry and engineering.