European Tour champion Bernd Wiesberger has welcomed last week’s announcement that the Lyoness Open powered by Greenfinity will be held at Diamond Country Club for the next three years.
Wiesberger is currently Austria’s leading player at Number 97 in the Official World Golf Ranking – thanks in no small part to his victory at last month’s Ballantine’s Championship – and the big-hitting 26 year old is relishing the prospect of teeing up as a European Tour winner in his National Open, which will carry Lyoness’ title sponsorship and a €1m prize fund until at least 2014.
Wiesberger finished in a tie for fifth place behind the eventual champion Kenneth Ferrie of England at last year’s tournament, which was played for the second successive season at Diamond Country Club in Atzenbrugg, on the outskirts of his native Vienna.
The 7,386 yards, par 72 layout plays to Wiesberger’s strengths, and after his victory in Korea the three-time Austrian Amateur Stroke Play Champion is now hopeful of becoming the second home winner of the Lyoness Open powered by Greenfinity, following Markus Brier’s triumph in 2006.
Wiesberger, who won twice on the Challenge Tour in 2010 to graduate to The European Tour, said: “It’s great news. I was asked to be at last week’s press conference to announce the new sponsorship deal but unfortunately I had a morning tee-time [at the BMW PGA Championship], so couldn’t make it. But I was very happy when I found out, because it’s great news for the tournament and for golf in Austria.
“Hopefully we will have a better field this year, and with the tournament and the prize money guaranteed for the next three years, the future looks good. The course at Diamond Country Club is also very good – it’s definitely one of the best we play on all season – so it’s great news that the tournament will stay there. It should be a great week, and I’m really looking forward to it, especially after my win in Korea. To go back there as a European Tour winner will be very special.”
His victory at the Ballantine’s Championship made headline news across Austria, a country which has only produced three European Tour champions, with Martin Wiegele winning the SAINT-OMER OPEN presented by Neuflize OBC in 2010 in addition to the home wins for Wiesberger and Brier.
Wiesberger is now hoping the additional media coverage generated by his triumph at Blackstone Golf Club will encourage more youngsters to take up the game, and also lead to bumper crowds when the Lyoness Open powered by Greenfinity takes place from July 25-28.
He said: “It’s not every week that Austria has a European Tour winner, so I obviously had a lot of media to do, which was a lot of fun. Hopefully it will raise the profile of golf in Austria, get some more people through the gates in July and also get more young children to take up the game.
“With the help of my sponsors, I’ve just organised my first junior tournament at Stegersbach Golf Club later in the year. Unfortunately I won’t be there myself as it’s the week of Firestone, which I’ve just qualified for, but it should still be a great week.
“We’ve got some club manufacturers down there and we’re trying to make it as professional as possible, so hopefully the young guys will get to learn a bit more about the game also and enjoy themselves at the same time. I’m also getting a few of the Austrian players to send some video messages, so hopefully the juniors will be inspired to get better and work hard at their games.”