The European Tour heads for Holland this week and the KLM Open at Kennemer G&CC in Zandvoort. Home player Joost Luiten is the defending champion in this prestigious tournament.

Lowdown:
The European Tour heads for Holland this week and the KLM Open at Kennemer G&CC in Zandvoort. Home player Joost Luiten is the defending champion in this prestigious tournament.

An impressive field has assembled for this event, as the 2014 European Tour heads towards its Final Series. Defending champ Joost Luiten is looking forward to competing again on home soil.

“The victory last year took a while to sink in,” he said. “It was great to see all the people going crazy though and my family being there. That was special. The win really helped grow the game of golf in this country, so it was a great thing to do. I’d love to be up there again.”

Luiten is joined on the start sheet by Major champions: Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington, Paul Lawrie and Jose Maria Olazabal. Italy’s Matteo Manassero will tee it up, so too Paul Casey, Robert Karlsson and last week’s European Masters winner David Lipsky.

The Dutch Open was first contested back in 1912 when Englishman George Pannell was victorious. Since then many famous professionals have claimed the title including – J.H Taylor, Bobby Locke, Roberto De Vicenzo, Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer and Colin Montgomerie.

Last year, home favourite Joost Luiten came through a playoff against the veteran Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez to record a memorable victory. It was only the second time a Dutchman had taken the title – Maarten Lafeber won the event in 2003.

Opened in 1927, the seaside course at Kennemer is the work of the ubiquitous English designer Harry Colt. It has a links feel and wind is always a factor here.

There’s an incredible hole-in-one prize up for grabs this week. If any of the players can ace the 15th hole, they’ll win a trip into space courtesy of XCOR Space Expeditions.

”With this prize we wish to create awareness among the public that space is now also accessible for everyone,” says Michiel Mol, from XCOR Space Expeditions. ”Journeys into space can be made starting from the end of 2015. We already have 300 bookings.”

The weather forecast for the end of this week looks settled in Zandvoort. Scoring conditions should be ideal.

Venue: Kennemer G&CC, Zandvoort, The Netherlands
Date: Sep 11-14
Course stats: par 70, 6,626 yards
Purse: €1,800,000 Winner: €300,000
Defending Champion: Joost Luiten (-12)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 11 – Sky Sports 4 from 1pm
Friday 12 – Sky Sports 4 from 1pm
Saturday 13 – Sky Sports 4 from 12pm
Sunday 14 – Sky Sports 4 from 11.30am

Player Watch:
Richie Ramsay: The Scot was eighth last week after opening with a scintillating 62. He produced a 64 in his last round at Kennemer last year, so he clearly enjoys the course.

Shane Lowry: The Irishman is a good wind and links player. He played well here last year and was tied 13th last week in Switzerland.

Brett Rumford: He has one of the best short games in professional golf and that could give him an advantage around this short, tricky course. He finished strongly last week with a closing 64 and will be looking to take that form into this week.

Key Hole: 16th. At 473 yards this long par 4 actually plays as a par 5 for the members. A fade is the ideal shot from the tee but you’ll then be left with a long approach to a narrow green cut into the dunes.

Skills Required: Wind play. A links-style course on the Dutch coast, Kennemer tends to be buffeted by strong winds. The winner here will have good control over his ball flight and will be able to shape his shots both ways.