Adrian Otaegui is looking to take inspiration from 12 months ago as he defends the title this week at the Belgian Knockout.
“It feels very special to be back here in Rinkven this week. To be back at this course, the driving range, the atmosphere, it definitely brings back good memories from last year and it is a good feeling to be defending champion.”
The Spaniard overcame Benjamin Hebert in the final last season at Rinkven International Golf Club, advancing from 36 holes of stroke play and then battling through the knockout rounds in nine hole medal match play.
The victory added to his win at the 2017 Paul Lawrie Match Play and he continued to show his prowess in head to head golf when he lost in the final of this season’s ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth.
That formidable record makes him one of the favourites this week and he is also hoping he can use the good vibes from last season to power him forward again.
“I am very motivated, and it is a nice challenge to defend my title, so I will do my best to defend it.
“I feel very proud of the whole week. I did well in qualifying to finish eighth with two good solid rounds and all of my matches I played very good. I played all of them under par and I felt pretty much in control of what I was doing, so all good memories.
“I’ve struggled a little bit the last couple of months, but I feel like it’s getting better. I played nine holes on Monday and nine on Tuesday, so it’s feeling good with my swing.”
Austrian Bernd Wiesberger brings some positive feelings of his own to Belgium, arriving off the back of a victory at the Made in Denmark presented by FREJA.
“The way I’ve fought back over the last couple of months to get to a position where I can play for a win again, obviously it’s come a little bit out of the blue.
“From not having too many close calls before that, it was even sweeter to pull one off in those circumstances like on Sunday.
“I knew that my game was getting to a place where I was competitive again, it hasn’t been in a place where it was competitive all four days.
LAST WEEK'S WINNER ? DEFENDING CHAMPION— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) May 29, 2019
PICK ONE ? pic.twitter.com/HvU7Ke0jtJ
The Austrian was out for seven months last year due to a wrist injury but is now back in the winner’s circle in his 13th event since making his comeback on the 2019 Race to Dubai, and for the first time since the 2017 Shenzhen International.
While he admits it was something of a surprise, Wiesberger is delighted to have some momentum back in his game, as he prepares to make his Belgian Knockout debut tomorrow.
“It’s nice getting congratulated by your peers but we all start from scratch. It’s a completely different format, a different week, a new golf course again.
“It’s a new challenge ahead. I’m looking forward to getting out there again.”