Thomas Pieters says watching Ryder Cup teammate Matt Fitzpatrick win his maiden Major Championship at the U.S. Open has provided him with a boost in motivation as he targets a second DP World Tour victory this season at the BMW International Open.
The Belgian arrives at Golfclub München Eichenried on the back of a tie for 27th at The Country Club, Brookline last week and admits he was “over the moon” for Fitzpatrick, who he played alongside for Europe in the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine.
Pieters won his maiden Rolex Series title at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January and the World Number 35has since registered two top tens at the Soudal Open and Dutch Open.
The six-time Tour winner says Fitzpatrick’s victory in Boston has provided a great sense of energy for European golfers.
“It is just amazing for him,” Pieters said. “We were in a house together at the US PGA Championship, I saw him in contention there and how calm he was on Saturday evening, Sunday morning and then to do it at the next Major is impressive.
“He works at it (his game) really hard, like everyone says he works every (extra) one per cent he can. It gives me motivation as well to see him get over the line for European golf. You could see Rory (McIlroy) was there (behind the 18th green), everyone was just happy for him.”
Despite being unable to mount a challenge over the weekend in Boston, Pieters viewed his performance at the third Major of the year as another “positive week” where he took encouragement from his mindset on a challenging course.
Asked how feels about his game ahead of this week’s tournament, Pieters added: “I feel like I am really close (to returning to my best).
“My putting has been really good and that has been the missing link over the past years. I am driving it a lot better, and my attitude is a lot better. I arrive at tournaments, and I am looking forward to contending.
“I have won twice in the last eight months, so I feel like I am going in the right direction.”
My putting has been really good and that has been the missing link over the past years
Pieters, who also won the Portugal Masters last November, says he rates his performance so far this season as a seven out of ten and is excited by the opportunity to challenge for the title in Germany, at a course he finished in a share of 29th last year.
“I really like the golf course,” said Pieters, who is sixth in the DP World Tour Rankings. “I think driving is quite important here. You have got a lot of opportunities, there are a couple of short par fours.
“If you get your driver going, I think you give yourself a lot of chances on this golf course.”