Markus Brier is confident a return to his home course will help kick-start his season at this week’s Lyoness Open powered by Greenfinity.
Brier has endured a testing time of late, having missed seven straight cuts, but the 44 year old from Vienna feels ready to contend again at an event which is so close to his heart.
Having won the tournament twice when it formed part of the Challenge Tour in 2002 and 2004, Brier sparked unprecedented scenes by becoming the first Austrian to enter the winners’ enclosure on the European Tour at his national Open in 2006, before adding the Volvo China Open one year later.
And whilst he is understandably keen, given his recent travails, to manage expectations accordingly and play down his prospects of taking his tally of European Tour titles to three this week, Brier believes the home comforts of Diamond Country Club – to which he is attached – could provide a timely boost and spark a return to form.
He said: “It’s always good to play on your home course and see so many familiar faces around the place. My family and some friends from the golf club will be coming along to watch, and with Bernd [Wiesberger] doing so well this season, hopefully we’ll get some good crowds coming out to support us. It should be a really fun week – I’m looking forward to getting started.
“With the way I’ve been playing my expectations aren’t very high, but I know the course very well, so that should hopefully give me an advantage this week. It’s fairly narrow off the tees so you have to try to keep it in play, and then take your chances when they come along. If the wind picks up it will make life much trickier, so it’s going to be interesting.
“There’s been a lot of rain over the weekend, and when I played on Saturday the course was very wet. But hopefully the sun over the last couple of days has helped to dry the ground out, and by Wednesday the course should be in good shape. The greens are rolling well, so all we need now is for the fairways to dry out a little, and we should be in for a great week.”
Brier has been living dangerously over the past two seasons, retaining his playing privileges at the Qualifying School Final Stage in 2010 and finishing in 116th place in The 2011 Race to Dubai to keep his card by the skin of his teeth.
Given his current position of 140th place in the Money List, Brier could be forgiven for fearing yet another nervy end to the season, but the recent work he has undertaken on the practice range to cure his errant driving has given him renewed cause for optimism.
He said: “I’m trying to get my swing back to where it was which hasn’t been easy; but we’re slowly making progress, and hopefully this week can get my season started.
“I’ve been struggling with my long game, but hopefully all the hard work will pay off and I can give the fans something to cheer about. My driving got a bit wild, and that’s usually the strongest part of my game. But I played quite well in practice and my control was much better, so that gives me some confidence to take into the tournament. Hopefully it will all come together this week.”