Wednesday, 13 September 2017
Joost Luiten  (Getty Images)
Joost Luiten (Getty Images)

Defending champion Joost Luiten is hoping a home crowd can inspire him to another victory when he tees it up at this week's KLM Open.

The Dutchman has twice been a winner in his home event, with his victory last season making it five European Tour triumphs in total.

The 31 year old has been his usual picture of consistency since - missing just four cuts - but has not challenged for win number six, something he hopes to change at The Dutch.

"It’s always good to be playing at home," he said. "We only get to do it once a year so it’s always a week where I know I am going to be really busy but also a week that I should enjoy as much as possible.

"The start to my season was good. I started really solid but the game has gone a little bit cold over the past couple of months. But I played better in Switzerland last week and I am starting to see improvement in my game.

"I am hitting the ball the way I want to now and hopefully I can keep going on that path this week and this amazing crowd can get behind me."

Luiten took the crown last year with a course-record-equalling 63 on Sunday afternoon after a thrilling final-day battle with Bernd Wiesberger and while he looks to take inspiration from that performance, he does not think it will be matched this week.

"The final round last year was one of those days that you dream about," he said. "To play so well and then give myself a chance on the back nine, then to actually win the tournament was an amazing feeling and very special day. Everything went right - I holed everything, played well, got some lucky breaks and at the end of the day I won by three shots.

I am hitting the ball the way I want to now and hopefully I can keep going on that path this week and this amazing crowd can get behind me - Joost Luiten

"It was a great battle with Bernd. I always like to look at leaderboards in the final round because I feel you need to know exactly what your position is. After nine holes it looked like it was just me and Bernd who could really win. 

"The biggest moment was on 17 because Bernd made bogey and I made then made birdie after him so all of a sudden I was three clear and was able to enjoy the walk down the 18th a little bit more than usual.

"I think it’s going to be a lot tougher this year from a scoring perspective. I made it to 19 under last year but conditions were perfect and we are not going to have it so easy this year. If the wind keeps blowing and we get the rain which is forecast then I think six or seven under will have a great chance to win."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1WATTEL, RomainFRA18-15
2CONNELLY, AustinCAN18-14
T3WALTERS, JustinRSA18-13
T3COETZEE, GeorgeRSA18-13
T3HEISELE, SebastianGER18-13

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