Lowdown:
The European Tour heads for Austria this week and the Lyoness Open powered by Greenfinity at the Diamond Country Club in Atzenbrugg. Home player Bernd Wiesberger defends the title.

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 all been winners.

Last season, home player Bernd Wiesberger delighted the Austrian fans with an impressive, three-shot victory over Ireland’s Shane Lowry and Thomas Levet of France.

Wiesberger comes into this year’s event on good form, having shot 64, 66 on the weekend to finish third in the Nordea Masters at Bro Hof Slott.

“It was an unbelievable weekend and great to play the way I did just before heading home to Austria,” he said. “It’s a huge boost ahead of defending my title.”

Wiesberger will start as favourite this week. But there are some other big names on the start sheet, including Miguel Angel Jimenez, Pablo Larrazabal and Thomas Bjorn.

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.

There’s been a significant amount of rain in Austria leading up to this event – some 6cm in the last week. So the course is likely to be soft. That will make it play long, but the greens should be receptive. Look out for the longer hitters to perform well. The forecast for the tournament is mixed with the possibility of thunderstorms. Don’t be surprised if there’s the odd weather delay.

Venue:
Diamond Country Club, Atzenbrugg, Austria
Date: Jun 6-9
Course stats: par 72, 7,386 yards
Purse: €1,000,000
Defending Champion: Bernd Wiesberger (-19)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 6 – Sky Sports 2 from 10am (red button)
Friday 7 – Sky Sports 2 from 10am (red button)
Saturday 8 – Sky Sports 3 from 12pm (red button)
Sunday 9 – Sky Sports 3 from 12pm (red button)

Player Watch:
Peter Whiteford – The Scot has showed flashes of impressive form this year. He was tied second in the Ballantine’s Championship in Korea and, last week in Sweden, he posted a second round of 63 and it was only a disappointing third round that let him down, as he finished tied 14th.

Max Kieffer – The young German lost an epic playoff for the Open d’Espana in April. He looks like a Tour winner and this could be the breakthrough week. He put in four solid rounds last week at Bro Hof Slott.

Rikard Karlberg – The Swede was tied fourth last week and was fourth in this event last year. Those numbers stack up, so watch out for him this week.

Key holes:
11th and 15th. Par 3s of 202 and 159 yards but both play to island greens and anything straying off line at either hole could end in a watery grave.

Where next?
PGA Tour –
FedEx St. Jude Classic preview