Markus Brier is hoping that a return to home soil at the Kärnten Golf Open presented by Mazda can give his season a timely fillip as the tournament visits Jacques Lemans Golf Club for the first time.
The two-time European Tour winner, and the first Austrian to win on the top tier, is regarded as the man who spearheaded the rise of golf in the country, which is now enjoying unprecedented success thanks to the likes of Bernd Wiesberger and Martin Wiegele.
Brier has struggled for form recently but is hopeful that a return to home soil and the Challenge Tour will give him the boost he needs, and the 44 year old reveals he cannot wait to tackle a course on which he has not yet played.
“I missed the last three cuts so I’m not playing too well at the moment, but I hope the Challenge Tour gives me a little boost,” said the two-time Challenge Tour winner.
“The course is in the same area where we used to play and it’s supposed to be in fantastic condition. It’s a small little course and it’s about five years old now, so it will have matured nicely.
“From what I have heard they are small greens, so it’s quite a tricky test. There will be a few tight holes and the course is in a little valley. I know the area well so it will be fun.”
One of the names on everyone’s lips in Austrian golf is that of 2012 European Amateur Champion Manuel Trappel, who will be confident this week after sealing the best finish of his brief Challenge Tour career with a tied 22nd finish at the Scottish Hydro Challenge hosted by Macdonald Hotels and Resorts.
Brier has been impressed by the 23 year old, who looks to have a very bright future in the game.
“He is a solid player,” said Brier. “He knows his game and doesn’t do anything fancy, which I think is great. He might not be as flashy a player as Bernd [Wiesberger], but he’s making his way slowly but surely and I like that, I think he is going to learn more and more and he’s going to be a very good player.
“It will be good to see all the guys there next week, there will obviously be a lot of Austrians playing and it will be nice.”
After four years at Golf Club Klagenfurt-Seltenheim, the tournament will take place at Jacques Lemans, an idyllic lay-out nestled in the Carinthian region of Austria, close to the town of St Viet.
This tournament has already provided the springboard for home hero Wiegele to progress to bigger and better things, as he won this event in 2010 just two weeks before clinching his maiden European Tour title in Saint Omer.
The last two editions of this event have been won by Frenchmen, with Gary Stal last year succeeding compatriot and 2011 champion Edouard Dubois, who returns this week aiming for a third Challenge Tour title.
Another Frenchman in the field is François Calmels, who is seeking his third title of the season, which would mean he would follow in the footsteps of Brooks Koepka by earning automatic promotion to The European Tour.
Alongside Brier and Trappel, HP Bacher also represents the Austrian Challenge Tour contingent and, having finished runner-up in the Kazakhstan Open last year, he will be hoping to show that kind of form and go one better by claiming his maiden title.