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Pablo Larrazábal loving life as new parent as he returns for KLM Open defence

Pablo Larrazábal loving life as new parent as he returns for KLM Open defence

New father Pablo Larrazábal believes he is returning to a level which will enable him to challenge for his tenth DP World Tour title as he returns to the Netherlands to defend the KLM Open.

After a strong start to his season in the Middle East, including back-to-back top 20s in Dubai, the Spaniard took time away from the game to support his wife Adriana ahead of the birth of his first child.

Larrazábal welcomed newborn son Thiago into the world on April 10 and the 41-year-old has since made four DP World Tour appearances.

His last two starts – both on European soil – have hinted he is nearing the form that saw him win twice last season and he is upbeat about where his game is at after finishing tied 13th earlier this month at the European Open in Germany.

Larrazábal has since enjoyed two weeks at home with the newest member of his family and he is hopeful parenthood can inspire him to claim more silverware.

“I am very close to being up there [in contention to win],” he said. “It’s all about getting into position.

“Obviously at the last tournament, I was in position to win. On Saturday, I didn’t play well and fell a little too far back. But I am trending, reaching that level to try and put myself in position more often.”

Larrazábal secured his second DP World Tour title in three starts at last year’s KLM Open aged 40 as he became the eighth different Spaniard to win the historic event.

This week marks the 104th edition of the tournament, one of the DP World Tour’s founding events since its inception in 1972, with its only absence from the schedule coming in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I'm super proud to be the defending champion here,” he said.

“This is such an iconic trophy on the DP World Tour. This is one of the oldest trophies we have and looking at the trophy and the names that are on it are very special.

“This is one of the ones that you want to have your name on the trophy, and I have mine, so I'm super proud of the last 365 days. Being the defending champion of this trophy has been very special.”

He arrives in the Netherlands aiming to become the first player to successfully defend the title since American Bob Byman in 1978.

But if he is to do so he will have to master a new course, with the tournament having moved from Bernardus Golf Club to The International for its 104th edition.

“It’s a tight golf course,” said Larrazábal of the challenge that awaits the field. “It’s a tough one, the greens are very narrow.

“It’s going to be a good, tough week. From the tee you have to be very straight, and your iron game has to be very good. If the wind blows, it is going to be a tough week to make birdies.”

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