US Open Champion Graeme McDowell and his Ryder Cup team mate Miguel Angel Jiménez will lead the ‘diamond rush’ to Austria this week as the Austrian GolfOpen presented by Botarin finds a new home at the Diamond Country Club.
McDowell, who won his first Major Championship at Pebble Beach in June two weeks after winning the Celtic Manor Wales Open, is hoping to secure his third European Tour title of the season on the outskirts of Vienna, while Jiménez is eyeing what would be a formidable fourth success of 2010 having won in Dubai, France and Switzerland.
With The Ryder Cup just over two weeks away, McDowell and Jiménez are looking to continue the outstanding collective form of Colin Montgomerie’s Team members in the run-up to the biennial match against the United States.
Starting with Ross Fisher’s victory at the 3 Irish Open at the start of August, Martin Kaymer (twice), Peter Hanson, Edoardo Molinari and Jiménez have all won on The European Tour, giving Europe’s bid to win back The Ryder Cup a huge confidence boost.
While McDowell and Jiménez look to further enhance that, the rest of the field in the Austrian GolfOpen presented by Botarin will be focusing on their personal quests for glory.
Among them will be home favourite Markus Brier, who is eyeing a fourth Austrian Open success having won the event twice when it was part of the European Challenge Tour and once on The European Tour.
Brier is confident that the change of venue from his home course, Fontana Golf Club, will not have an effect on the overwhelming support he receives and he is certain that the Diamond Country Club will become a great new home for his national open championship.
“The Diamond Country Club is a good venue,” said Brier. “There has been a lot of investment in the course and facilities recently and the owner there, Christian Guzy, has given the Austrian Open a new home there.
“There are still some changes going on at the club, but once the redevelopment is complete it will be a great host venue. I like the course – I have played it probably ten times so I will have a small advantage over a lot of the guys.
“I am sure the support will be there for myself and the other Austrian players in the field – we are very lucky at home that the people support us in big numbers by coming to the event and I am sure that will continue at the new venue.”
Another Austrian hoping for success this week is Martin Wiegele, who has already won twice this season including a memorable victory in his homeland on the Challenge Tour.
Wiegele captured the Karnten Golf Open by Markus Brier Foundation at Klagenfurt-Seltenheim Golf Club in June – acing the par three eighth hole for a second consecutive year in the final round for a one stroke victory.
He followed that by winning the dual-ranking SAINT OMER OPEN presented by Neuflize just three weeks later.
Last year Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello captured the title producing a remarkable final round 60 to surge through the field.