Challenge Tour blog: Swiss Challenge

7/10/2013 9:00:00 AM
The view from Golf Sempachersee  (EuropeanTour)
The view from Golf Sempachersee (EuropeanTour)

Keep up with all the action from on and off the course at the Swiss Challenge in our Challenge Tour blog…

Super Swiss Challenge

The Swiss Challenge has to be one of the most well organised events on the Challenge Tour. With from stunning views over Lake Sempach and to the mountains beyond, Golf Sempachersee boasts a breath-taking 6,637-metres championship course – the Woodside course – an excellent, modern clubhouse and great practice facilities. The tournament could even be a mini European Tour event, with its small tented village, 18th green grandstand and BMW shuttle service for the players. And the two hole-in-one prizes are not bad either  - a BMW 3-series Gran Turismo on the eighth and an Omega Seamaster watch on the 16th.

Cobb on Koepka

The story of 2013 so far on the Challenge Tour has undoubtedly been Brooks Koepka, the 23 year old American who won three times in two months to secure instant promotion to The European Tour. I happened to share a car with his good friend and compatriot Kyle Cobb from Zurich airport to Golf Sempachersee on Tuesday, and Brooks’ success inevitably came up in conversation. Cobb, like Brooks and Peter Uihlein, another young American who is taking Europe by storm, is also attempting to carve out a career on this side of the Atlantic and, after basing himself with a friend in Stockholm for the summer, has secured a number of Challenge Tour invites.

“It’s my first time in Europe and it’s much different,” said the former Florida State University player. “I spoke to Brooks a lot and he really encouraged me to come over. He told me about the opportunities available and how playing here makes you a more rounded player. He has really helped me with getting invites and giving me advice.

“Brooks has always been one of the best ball strikers I’ve ever seen, and anyone who plays with him says the same. He had trouble with his putting in the past, but now he can putt he’s some player. He has a mental steel too; he knows he is better than anyone he comes up against – but not in an arrogant way. He’s always been very determined and it’s great to see him doing so well over here.”

Fritelli forgoes frat lifestyle

Another player in the car on the aforementioned journey from airport to golf club was Dylan Fritelli, the South African who won his maiden Challenge Tour title in the Kärnten Golf Open presented by Mazda a couple of weeks ago. Fritelli, like many young players, went to college in the States, so had plenty of stories to share with Kyle Cobb. A graduate of the University of Texas, Fritelli admitted it was at times hard to shun the party scene many of his peers enjoyed in Austin, but that it was worth it now he is enjoying a burgeoning professional career.

“There were so many things to get into in Austin, but it was dangerous to get to into the party scene,” he said. “I went out a few times but mainly tried to focus on my golf.  I’m not a guy who can go out partying and drinking and then play well the next day. Some guys were there for the social life but it wasn’t for me.”