Bernd Wiesberger is hoping to draw on course knowledge at the 2022 Soudal Open as he set his sights on rising back up the Official World Golf Ranking.
The Austrian has played at Rinkven International Golf Club on two prior occasions, finishing eighth at the Belgian Knockout in 2019 while he also played at the European Amateur Championship in 2005.
Lifted by a top-10 finish at the Catalunya Championship in his most recent tournament, Wiesberger is aware of the challenge players will face as the DP World Tour makes its first return to Belgium in three years.
“It’s bouncy, its old school, tight and tree-lined,” eight-time DP World Tour winner Wiesberger said of the venue.
“You want to hit the fairway because in the rough you get the fliers and the greens won’t hold the ball, so with a bit of wind it is going to add up to an interesting week.”
After missing out on qualification for last month’s Masters Tournament, Wiesberger will make his first Major Championship appearance of 2022 in the US PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club next week.
The 36-year-old needs to climb into the top 60 on the Official World Ranking to qualify for next month’s U.S. Open Championship or book his spot at The Country Club via the U.S. Open Qualifying Series, which continues at Belgium’s national Open.
Wiesberger, who has already assured his spot at the 150th Open Championship this summer, added: “I definitely want to get myself back up in the world rankings, that is an immediate goal, and for me Major season is starting now so, in the short-term, I want to make sure I get to play the U.S. Open as well in a few weeks’ time, and first Major next week, so a lot of golf left this summer for sure.”
Wiesberger is one of several players with Ryder Cup history in the Soudal Open field, with Rafa Cabrera Bello among those.
The Spaniard is hopeful prioritising the DP World Tour will help lead to a sustained return to his best form as he prepares to make his debut appearance at this week’s event.
Cabrera Bello, who has also played on the PGA TOUR over recent seasons, won his most recent DP World Tour title on home soil at the Open de España and is ranked 12th in the DP World Tour Rankings in Partnership with Rolex.
“I don’t have full status on the PGA TOUR so will be focusing on the DP World Tour,” said Cabrera Bello, who began the year with a tied-second finish in the Rolex Series at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January.
“The last six years I have done that and split tours, and it is hard and puts a lot of pressure on every week you play and travelling adds a bit of stress, but if you play good it’s great and what I am hoping I can do again - get the game to where I know it can be.”
Despite finishing 67th in last week’s Betfred British Masters hosted by Danny Willett at The Belfry, he is confident the work he has put into his game will soon reap the rewards.
“Even though last week I didn’t have the week that I wanted, there were still some positives, and I am hoping and believing it could click this week,” he added.