Home hero Markus Brier is excited at the prospect of continuing his superb record at the Lyoness Open powered by Greenfinity, an event in which he has triumphed three times and finished in the top three on two further occasions.
Brier won the event twice when it formed part of the Challenge Tour Schedule – first in 2002 and later in 2004 – before sparking jubilant scenes at Fontana Golf Club in 2006 by becoming the first Austrian to win on The European Tour International Schedule.
This year, Austria’s National Open returns to Diamond Country Club, the stunning venue on the outskirts of his native Vienna to which Brier is attached, and will also carry a new title sponsor after affinity card company Lyoness recently signed a three-year deal.
Brier, who has competed in every edition of the tournament since the inaugural Austrian Open in 1990, believes the €1million event will benefit greatly from Lyoness’ involvement.
The 43 year old, who captured his second European Tour title at the 2007 Volvo China Open, said: “Of course the tournament is very close to my heart, so I’m really pleased that it has attracted a strong sponsor such as Lyoness and that it will be on the schedule for at least the next three years. I obviously have great memories of my win in 2006, which was a very emotional time for me.
“Winning your first tournament on the main Tour is always very special, but to win it in my home country was a dream come true. I remember being very nervous at the start of the final round, but I was playing so well that I never thought I wouldn’t win. To beat great players like Søren Hansen and Simon Dyson made the victory even sweeter, and I’ll never forget walking onto the final green and waving to the crowd.
“My win really helped to put golf in Austria on the map, and I’m sure that with Bernd [Wiesberger] winning recently in Korea, there will be some big crowds at Diamond [Country Club] in July. I’ve obviously played the course many times, so I know it very well. Unfortunately I don’t have a very good record since the tournament moved there in 2010, but hopefully I can play better this year and give the fans something to cheer about.
“I would love to win the tournament for a fourth time – that would be very special. I wouldn’t say time is running out just yet, but I haven’t got too many years left to do it! But whatever happens I’m sure it will be a great week, so I’m really looking forward to it.”