The European Tour heads for Austria this week and the Lyoness Open powered by Greenfinity at the Diamond Country Club in Atzenbrugg. Holland’s Joost Luiten is the defending champion.

Lowdown:
The European Tour heads for Austria this week and the Lyoness Open powered by Greenfinity at the Diamond Country Club in Atzenbrugg. Holland’s Joost Luiten is the defending champion.

This 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 been among the winners.

Last season, Joost Luiten held off the challenge of Thomas Bjorn to take the title by two shots. The Dutchman is looking forward to making a return to Atzenbrugg as he continues in his quest to earn a place in Paul McGinley’s Ryder Cup team for Gleneagles in September.

“I’m looking forward to going back there,” he said. “I like the place, I like the course and the people are really nice. It’s always nice winning tournaments, and this will be my first time that I’m going to defend, so I’m really looking forward to the week.

“Last year I basically led from the beginning until the end, and it’s a bit different pressure than when you come from behind. It was a good experience and I was very proud that I kept it going the last round and won by two.”

“I think I’ve learned a lot from those victories last year and I’m more experienced now. I think I have changed a little bit over the last year with two wins, and it makes you a better player.”

Opened for play in 2000, the course at Diamond Country Club took over as host venue for the Austrian Open in 2010. It’s an interesting Jeremy Pern design featuring water hazards on nine of the 18 holes.

The weather forecast for this week looks good with temperatures rising into the 30s centigrade. Look out for good scoring and for a winning total around the 20-under-par mark.

Venue: Diamond Country Club, Atzenbrugg, Austria
Date: Jun 5-8
Course stats: par 72, 7,433 yards
Purse: €1,000,000 Winner: €166,660
Defending Champion: Joost Luiten (-17)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 5 – Sky Sports 4 from 10am
Friday 6 – Sky Sports 4 from 10am
Saturday 7 – Sky Sports 4 from 12pm
Sunday 8 – Sky Sports 4 from 11.30am

Player Watch:
Defending champ Joost Luiten and home favourite Bernd Wiesberger will start the week as heavy favourites, who else might spring a surprise?

Romain Wattel – He’s been steady if unspectacular in recent months, although he did finish well at the Nordea Masters last week – a tie for 11th. He was tied third in this event last year so clearly enjoys the course.

Rikard Karlberg – The Swede is on a good run at the moment with three straight top-15 finishes. He’ll be looking to keep that going this time out.

Michael Hoey – The Northern Irishman tends to be a bit hit or miss but he is able to win on the European Tour – he has five titles to his name. He was tied 18th last week and it would have been a great deal better save for a second round 75.

Key hole:
16th – A par four of some 420 yards, it’s not length that’s the problem on this one, it’s water. There’s water all down the right side for the tee shot, then it lurks right, left and long for the approach.