Des Smyth is aiming to continue his winning form in this week’s Pon Senior Open, a new event on the European Senior Tour where Germany’s Bernhard Langer will be the home favourite.
WINSTONgolf in Vorbeck is the venue for the €400,000 event, and the 6,238 metres, par 72 WINSTONopen course was the location for Martin Kaymer’s victory in the 2005 German Amateur Stroke Play Championship.
The course opened in 2002, and its links-style layout will pose a different test for Smyth from the parkland challenge of Woburn Golf Club, where he sealed his fifth Senior Tour victory in the Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters on Sunday with a four under par closing round of 68.
“I made some changes to my swing a few years ago, and in the last eight to nine months I’ve really started to feel very comfortable with my game,” said Smyth, who rose to tenth in the Order of Merit with his £45,000 win.
“I was saying to the guys back home recently that I’m really playing well and that a win was just around the corner, and so it proved. I was seventh in Wales the week before and tenth in Scotland the week before that, so I’m playing nicely and feel confident I can keep it up.
“Last week was a very stress-free week of golf. Some wins I’ve had it felt as though I was scrambling from all over the place, but at Woburn I was excellent from tee to green.
“There’s no reason why I can’t continue playing like this in Germany, and another win straight away would be incredible. It’s going to be good seeing a new venue and playing a new event on the Senior Tour.”
Langer is attached to WINSTONgolf, and few would bet against him claiming the inaugural title given his record in his homeland. The 55 year old two-time Masters Champion has won ten European Tour events on German soil in his illustrious career, and this season has not finished outside the top six in four appearances on the Senior Tour.
Australian Peter Fowler, last season’s Order of Merit champion, will be looking to build on his runner-up finish in the Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters, while Englishman Barry Lane will be hoping to make up some ground on his compatriot Roger Chapman at the head of the money list.
Chapman, a two-time Senior Major winner this season, leads by more than €100,000, but he is taking a break from competition this week, giving second placed Lane the opportunity to close in on his rival.
This will be the second visit to Germany this season, following the Berenberg Bank, and has been enabled by Pon Holdings, which has its headquarters in Almere and is one of the biggest family-run companies in the Netherlands. Since 1947, Pon has held the import rights for Volkswagen in the Netherlands, and the company will celebrate the 65th anniversary of this cooperation by sponsoring the tournament.