Our man on the ground at Stensballegaard Golf takes brings you more behind-the-scenes action from the ECCO Tour Championship hosted by Thomas Björn & Mercedes-Benz…
Steiner makes his Mark
Sometimes the difference between success and failure in golf, and indeed in any walk of life, is tiny. Indeed, in the case of Mark Tullo last year it was less than €2,000, which can equate to a single putt. Thus, the affable Chilean has vowed to make every shot count this year as he seeks a swift return to The European Tour. Most seasons the difference between the players finishing in 20th and 21st place in the Challenge Tour Rankings is even smaller, and with that in mind Roland Steiner might look back on his performance on the second day here with great affection if he does manage to graduate to The European Tour at the end of the season. Having opened with a round of 73 and started his second round by dropping five shots in his first four holes, played in heavy rain, the Austrian’s hopes of making the cut on one over par appeared dead and buried. But Steiner showed admirable resolve, birdieing seven of his next ten holes to surge up the leaderboard and squeeze under the cut mark with nothing to spare.Björn again
The announcement that Thomas Björn will resume his Vice-Captain duties at this year’s Ryder Cup at Medinah has added an extra layer of anticipation to his visit to Stensballegaard Golf this week. Björn will appear at a press conference on Saturday afternoon, when his appointment as one of José María Olazábal’s four assistants may well be the hot topic of discussion. Before the conference, the 13-time European Tour champion will be presented for the fifth time in his illustrious career with the ‘Nykredit and Sports Journalist Golden Golf Ball’, awarded by the Danish Golf Union (DGU) to their player of the year. Björn, who won the award four years running from 1995, said: “Last year was one of my best seasons, so it’s great to be recognised for that and to get my name back on the trophy again.” Søren Clemmensen, President of the DGU, praised Bjorn’s “amazing comeback”, saying: “The quality of the three tournaments he won, and the manner of his victories, show Thomas’ class.” It’s been quite a week for Thomas!
Dougherty's the Daddy
Game Number 30 drew a fairly sizeable crowd on the opening day, and not just because it featured three-time European Tour champions Nick Dougherty. Indeed, a number of the spectators had come along to watch local favourites Morten Orum Madsen and Lucas Bjerregaard, who has been causing quite a stir on the ECCO Tour this season. Despite not having his best day, Dougherty was his usual charming self after his round, generously giving his time to speak to the media. In spite of his dip in form, Dougherty always plays with a smile on his face – though with wife Di due to give birth to their first child soon, the likeable Liverpudlian has every reason to be pleased with his lot. You can watch his interview here
Aside from finishing runner-up in Brittany at the start of the campaign, Jeppe Huldahl has largely struggled to recapture the form of his breakthrough season in 2009, when he entered the winners’ enclosure on The European Tour at the Wales Open. But Huldahl has been unable to concentrate on his game due to the health of his three year old daughter Vega, who has been in and out of hospital with an illness for the past nine months. We wish her a speedy recovery, and her Daddy a speedy return to form.