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Five Things to Know: European Open 

Five Things to Know: European Open 

The DP World Tour continues its European Swing this week with the first of two visits to Germany for the European Open at Green Eagle Golf Courses. Here are your five things to know.

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McKibbin returns to scene of maiden win

Tom McKibbin held off home favourites Maximilian Kieffer and Marcel Siem to claim his maiden DP World Tour title in his rookie season at last year’s edition.  

The Northern Irishman, who graduated from the 2022 European Challenge Tour, carded a closing three-under-par 70 at Green Eagle Golf Courses to win by two shots and join Darren Clarke as only the second Northern Irish winner of this event.

Victory also saw him become the youngest winner from the island of Ireland on the DP World Tour since McIlroy, while he was also the fifth first-time winner in the last six stagings.

Having begun his debut campaign on the DP World Tour with three consecutive top 20s, his success in Germany proved instrumental in him qualifying for the season-ending DP World Tour Championship.

McKibbin returns to Hamburg in excellent form, with three top tens already so far this season and on the back of securing his maiden Major Championship by coming through U.S. Open Final Qualifying.

McKibbin trophy

Inside the field

Following the start of last week’s Soudal Open in Belgium, the European Open marks the second of six counting events on the European Swing and welcomes a host of winners from this season’s Race to Dubai.

Japanese pair Yuto Katsuragawa and Keita Nakajima, who played at the US PGA Championship earlier this month, are making their first appearances of the season in Europe.

Joining them among other DP World Tour winners so far this season is Sweden’s Jesper Svensson, who won in Singapore and made the cut on his Major debut at Valhalla Golf Club.

There is also the presence of a Major champion in Danny Willett, who exceeded expectations to make his comeback following shoulder surgery at The Masters last month.

Ronald Rugumayo, who made headlines by becoming the first Ugandan golfer to make the cut on the DP World Tour in Kenya earlier this year, takes his place in the field as an invite.

Albeit without a win, Rasmus Højgaard is aiming to build on what has been a strong start to his own campaign, while fellow Dane Rasmus Neergard-Petersen aims to bring his stellar form on the Challenge Tour over to the DP World Tour.

Kjeldsen hits the 700 mark

Søren Kjeldsen will join a very exclusive club when he tees it up for the 700th time on the DP World Tour this week.

The Dane, who turned 49 earlier this month, reaches the milestone number after a distinguished career spanning four decades.

David Howell, Miguel Angel Jiménez and Sam Torrance are the only other three players to have played 700 or more DP World Tour events, highlighting the longevity Kjeldsen continues to enjoy.

After turning professional in 1995, he won his maiden title in the paid ranks on the Challenge Tour in 1997 as he earned promotion to the DP World Tour.

He has since won titles in Scotland, twice in Spain, with the most recent of his victories coming in Ireland in 2015.

Kjeldsen has competed at all four Majors, recording top tens in three of the four, played on the PGA TOUR with a full card and won the World Cup of Golf with Thorbjørn Olesen in 2016.

From a home golf simulator to the DP World Tour

Following last year’s innovative agreement between the European Tour group and Trackman, this week sees one golfer showcase his skills on the course rather than virtually.

Through the NEXT Golf Tour, a professional golf tour for women and men played on Trackman simulators, Jordan Weber won their Order of Merit to receive invites to play on the DP World Tour and Challenge Tour in 2024.

The American will tee it up as a professional in Europe for the first time this week before taking his place in the field at three consecutive events on the Challenge Tour in August – the Farmfoods Scottish Challenge supported by The R&A, Vierumaki Finnish Challenge and the Indoor Golf Group Challenge in Sweden.

More than a decade after walking away from the game due to the yips, Weber returned to the sport after setting up a golf simulator business with his brother-in-law and now sets the scene for the latest chapter in his incredible story. 

“This is a huge opportunity for me, but at the same time I know that it’s a long shot,” he said. “If I play well, maybe it could lead to more.”

High hopes for home winner at tough venue

After four second places in the past five editions, Germany is hoping to crown its first German winner of the prestigious tournament since Bernhard Langer in 1995.

Back then the event was held in Ireland, with this week marking the seventh occasion Green Eagle Golf Courses has played host in Northern Germany.

Yannik Paul heads a strong German contingent aiming to thrill the home crowds, with fellow DP World Tour winners Kieffer, Siem and Nick Bachem among 12 home hopes teeing it up in familiar surroundings.

Regarded as one of the toughest assignments on the DP World Tour, the North Course at Green Eagle Golf Courses is the longest, measuring 7,882 yards.

It features a remarkable five par fives that are more than 600 yards in distance, with the winning score in each of the last three editions being nine under par or less.

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