Thomas Bjorn (Getty Images)
Defending champion Thomas Björn will return to the scene of arguably his greatest triumph when the Omega European Masters begins at Crans-sur-Sierre on Thursday.
With a host of big names in and around the top of the leaderboard in Crans Montana, Switzerland, last year, the Dane needed something special to emerge victorious.
He delivered just that, shooting an astonishing nine under par 62 to seal the crown in vintage fashion - something he looks back upon fondly.
“Last year was a special four days, and especially that Sunday is ranked right up there as one of my best memories on Tour,” admitted Björn.
“When you come back, you relive the memories, but the year’s gone so quickly - it seems like only yesterday I was here, shooting 62 on the last day to win.
“It was pretty close to perfect, that final round. Some of it was extremely, extremely good. I had a couple of bogeys in there, which you always tend to dwell on as a pro golfer. But in terms of my best days on the golf course, it has to be right up there.”
Björn is no stranger to success, having won on The European Tour 13 times and been part of victorious European Teams at The Ryder Cup in 1997 and 2002.
Yet his performance on the aforementioned final round last year, with the likes of Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer and Lee Westwood in hot pursuit, ranks alongside any of his other achievements.
“To shoot nine under to win the tournament against that calibre of field was a pretty special achievement,” he added.
“When you had Kaymer, McIlroy and Westwood all up there, to beat them was very pleasing. I needed to win one where the absolute best were up there and challenging, and that’s what I did.”
Björn entered the tournament last year in the richest vein of form, having triumphed in the Johnnie Walker Championship the previous week.
Despite not being quite so prolific at the moment - he finished 10th at Gleneagles last week - the Dane is hoping happy memories will lead to a good result.
“My game still isn’t quite where I want it to be, but hopefully some good feelings from last year can help me find my best as the week progresses,” he said.
“I played quite well last week - when you finish in the top ten you should always walk away happy, that’s my rule. I’ve got a good record here, having won and finished runner-up twice, so I know I can get the job done.”