The European Tour is in Vienna this week for the Austrian Golf Open at Fontana Golf Club. Markus Brier won here in 2006 and he carries home hopes again this season.
Jose Maria Olazabal, Paul Lawrie and Nick Dougherty will all tee it up at Fontana as crunch-time approaches in the inaugural Race to Dubai.
Every Euro earned counts as players strive to make it into the top-60 who’ll qualify to play in the season-ending Dubai World Championship in November.
Previous tournaments on the European Tour played at Fontana have been contested in June and Markus Brier believes the shift to September will benefit the course, “It will be harder than when we have played in early June,” he said. “I think it’s good for the course. It’ll be a bit tougher as the rough will be up. So it will be a different challenge.”
Designed by the Canadian architect Doug Carrick (also responsible for The Carrick on the banks of Loch Lomond), Fontana opened for play in 1997. Heavy rain over the last few weeks in Austria means the course is fairly soft so will be playing its full yardage.
Last season, Jeev Milkha Singh claimed the title and became only the second player in European Tour history to win an event by compiling 18 straight pars in the final round.
Venue: Fontana GC, Vienna, Austria
Date: September 17-20
Course stats: par 71, 7,066 yards
Purse: €1,000,000 Winner: €166,660
Defending Champion: Jeev Milkha Singh
Thursday 17 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 10am
Friday 18 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 10am
Saturday 19 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 12pm
Sunday 20 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 12pm
David Howell – The Englishman is showing welcome signs of returning to form. Watch for him to continue his comeback this week.
Markus Brier – He knows the course well and was winner here in 2006. He’s sure to raise his game in front of the home fans.
Paul Lawrie – He’s been working on his swing with Bob Torrance and the changes seem to be paying off. He’s overdue a European Tour victory.
Key hole: 18th. A par 5 of 545 yards it bends from left to right, hugging the edge of the lake. It’s reachable in two but the second shot will have to be played over the water – a great risk and reward hole.
Skills required: Ball striking. With the ground soft and the rough high, they’ll need to hit it long and straight this week. Don’t expect to see much run on the fairways.