The European Tour heads to Austria this week for the 20th edition of the Austrian Open. This year’s tournament will be contested at a new venue – the Diamond Country Club at Atzenbrugg near Vienna.
Opened for play in 2002, the course takes over as host to the Austrian Open from Fontana Golf Club. The Diamond Country Club is an interesting Jeremy Pern design featuring water hazards on nine of the 18 holes.
Last season, this tournament witnessed one of the best rounds ever seen on the European Tour when Spain’s Rafael Cabrera-Bello closed with an incredible 60 to overtake England’s Benn Barham and win the title by a single stroke.
The tournament was first contested in 1990 when Bernhard Langer took the title. Since then, Ronan Rafferty, Paul McGinley, Richard Green and Jeev Milkha Singh have all been winners.
Cabrera-Bello is not on the start sheet this week but a strong field will assemble in Atzenbrugg as players make final preparations for the Ryder Cup and chase valuable Euros in their personal quests to make the Dubai World Championship or to retain their playing rights for 2011.
US Open champion Graeme McDowell and three-time winner in 2010 Miguel Angel Jimenez will tee it up as will 2004 Open champion Todd Hamilton and home favourite Markus Brier.
Venue: Diamond Country Club, Atzenbrugg, Austria
Date: Sep 16-19
Course stats: par 72, 7,242 yards
Purse: €750,000 Winner: €125,000
Defending Champion: Rafael Cabrera-Bello (-20)
Thursday 16 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 10am
Friday 17 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 10am
Saturday 18 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 12pm
Sunday 19 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 12pm
Graeme McDowell – The Northern Irishman will be looking to find form ahead of Celtic Manor. He’ll aim to make it six consecutive wins on the European Tour for members of Colin Montgomerie’s team.
Jose Manuel Lara – The Spaniard produced a good display in the KLM Open last week to finish in a tie for fourth. He’s a streaky player so could be one to watch again this week.
Miguel Angel Jimenez – The veteran is in the form of his life and is enjoying every moment of it. Don’t be surprised to see him contend again in this event.
Key hole: 15th. It’s a par 3 of only 159 yards but it’s an island green and anything straying off line could end in a watery grave.
Skills required: Adapting. It’s a venue none of the players will have competed at before so getting to grips with the challenges it poses will be the key to success.