Koen Kouwenaar will be a name that only hardcore golf fans may have heard of before this week’s KLM Open but that could change after the event in Amsterdam.
The Hertogenbosch native is a Dutch amateur golfer who has been shining on a special week in his home tournament.
It is the 100th edition of the tournament, in addition to the centenary year of the event sponsor KLM since the Dutch airline was founded.
Kouwenaar has starred in recent months to become the highest ranked Dutchman on the World Amateur Golf Rankings - sitting in 28th position.
The 21-year-old has finished 13th or better in eight of his last nine non team events on the amateur circuit, including two wins on home soil at the Dutch International Junior Open and last week’s Dutch National Open Championship.
Despite being an amateur, Kouwenaar has made his mark on the competition to sit in a tie for 17th at six under par, five shots behind leader Scott Jamieson.
After a first round of four under, the 21-year-old threatened at the top of the leaderboard at the turn when he birdied 15th and 18th to reach a total of six under par.
A bogey at the first saw him fade out of title contention but managed to hit back to card birdies at the third and fifth, only to hand a shot back at the sixth.
And his efforts to provide a good showing at The International are easy to see.
Kouwenaar hits 1,000 balls a day to hone his skills, which he hopes one day will help him become a regular on the European Tour.
To say all the practice has taken its toll on his hands is an understatement to say the least and as the say goes: No pain, no gain.