Matthias Schwab may only be 19 years old and still an amateur, but this week he will make his fourth appearance in the Lyoness Open presented by Greenfinity.
The Austrian’s first appearance came in the 2010 edition, the first time Diamond Country Club hosted the €1,000,000 event, as a 16 year old, which resulted in a share of 32nd place.
Indeed, Schwab was tied ninth after three rounds, and despite a 75 on the final day, he was the highest-placed Austrian in the tournament.
The following year he again made the cut, and the Rohrmoos player will rekindle those fond memories to spark another fine performance on home soil.
“It’s always great to be here,” said Schwab. “I have very good memories of the first time I played here three years ago. I played so well and exceeded all expectations.
“There was a huge crowd following me on the last day and it was such an amazing experience.
“It’s strange that this is the fourth time I’ve played in the tournament and I’m still a teenager. I’ve had my final high school exams so I haven’t been able to practise a huge amount this spring, but the exams finished three weeks ago and since then I’ve been doing a lot of preparation.”
Schwab’s impressive amateur achievements - including playing in the 2012 Junior Ryder Cup and reaching the final of the 2012 Amateur Championship - have been helped by spending time during the winter in America, where he is coached by German Willi Hofmann.
“My coach spends the winter in Florida, so I spend two or three weeks every winter practising with him. I’ve been part of his team for four years and my game has improved a lot since then. He has been one of the most important people in my career so far.”
Schwab is also inspired by the recent success of Bernd Wiesberger, the defending champion this week, who won his first two European Tour titles in 2012 – the other being at the Ballantine’s Championship in Korea.
“Bernd is a big hero for us,” he added. “We watch him on the television playing on The European Tour and we’re always rooting for him. Everyone wants to be like him and have the success he has had.
“It shows us that there is a way for Austrians to become good players. I’m trying to be as good as he is.”