Max Kieffer (Getty Images)
Max Kieffer warmed up for his debut appearance at next week’s ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf with a flawless round of 68 on the opening day of the Talisker Masters on the PGA Tour of Australasia.
Having finished in the top 20 in Turkey last week, Kieffer only arrived at Royal Melbourne Golf Club – host venue for the Talisker Masters and the ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf – on Tuesday, and was unable to complete his practice round due to heavy rain.
But the German, who finished his maiden European Tour season in 73rd place in The Race to Dubai, made light of his jetlag and lack of course knowledge to finish the first day two shots behind leader Nick Cullen in a share of second place, alongside reigning Masters Tournament champion Adam Scott.
Speaking after his four under par round, Kieffer paid tribute to his caddie Graeme Henrich, a Melbourne native who used to produce the players’ yardage books at European Tour events before becoming a bagman.
He said: “I had Graeme on the bag who is a good caddie. He’s from Melbourne and he knows the course very well, so he was very helpful. We read the greens together all the time anyway, but he’s been particularly helpful this week.
“I love the course, it’s great. I think it tests every part of your game – you have to shape it both ways and you have to be a bit creative, so it’s a lot of fun. The greens were in great condition today, when you consider how much rain there was. So I think it’ll be a great venue for the World Cup.”
With the forecast for the weekend and the start of next week set fair, the course should be playing much firm and faster for when the ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf comes to town.
Kieffer, who is attached to European Tour Destination Golf and Country Club Fleesensee, is one of 40 European Tour Members in the field for next week’s US$8million showpiece and will be joined in Melbourne by his compatriot Marcel Siem, who won the ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf in partnership with Bernhard Langer in 2006.
It will be Siem’s fourth appearance in the event but Kieffer’s maiden outing, and the 23 year old is clearly relishing the prospect of representing his country for the first time as a professional.
He said: “I wanted to play this week to give me the best possible preparation for the World Cup next week. I’m very excited, it means a lot – to play for your country is one of the best things you can do.
“I know Marcel well, he’s a great guy and a great player, so hopefully we’ll do well and have a lot of fun.”