Eirik Tage Johansen is swapping parental duties for the golf course this week and is hoping to return to the family home with something to celebrate following the 57° Open de Portugal @ Morgado Golf Resort.
The Norwegian is playing a limited schedule this year after his wife gave birth to twins five months ago, providing their eldest daughter – who turns two years old next week – with two sisters.
Johansen’s wife, Maren, experienced a tough pregnancy which required him to spend more time at home both before and after the birth, meaning this week’s tournament will only be his sixth of the season.
However, a maiden victory at the Andalucía – Costa del Sol Match Play 9 in June meant he secured his playing privileges for the 2020 season in just his second event of the year, meaning everything from then became a bonus.
“It’s a crazy year,” he said. “We had twins in April and before that my wife wasn’t too well because of the pregnancy, so I had to take some time away from golf before they were born, and of course after.
“I was really fortunate to have a good week in Spain, I won there, and that made this season a whole lot easier. We made a plan to come out here enough times to have a shot at doing something reasonable.
“You can always wish to have some strong finishes but from where I started out this year, everything is a bonus. Even coming out early for tournaments and getting some sleep is a bonus! My eldest is going to be two next week and having three girls under two years old keeps you busy.”
The 37-year-old is currently 30th on the Road to Mallorca Rankings and sees this week as an opportunity to build on that solid foundation at a course which is set up to be a challenge.
“I’m staying on site here at Morgado Golf Resort,” he said. “They are great rooms and they have great facilities and it’s a great place to practice.
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“The course is set up really tough and I’m glad they have trimmed the rough slightly. I came out here on Monday and couldn’t find a single ball! They’ve trimmed it down and made it nice and straight but it’s still a good challenge. This is a proper event, no doubt about it.
“Rolex Trophy is an extremely fun week to play and it was great to have a top ten there. I’m playing this week and then I’m going to play in Morocco. They will be my next two events and I’m looking forward to hopefully doing something smart here.”
As the race for a top 15 spot on the Road to Mallorca hots up, this week presents an opportunity for players to cement a place in the season-ending Challenge Tour Grand Final, with the winner receiving 32,000 Rankings points.
With Challenge Tour Number One Calum Hill not playing this week, Richard Bland, Ricardo Santos, Matthew Jordan and Cormac Sharvin all have the chance to claim top spot with a victory.
The action begins at Morgado Golf Resort at 7.30am local time on Thursday with Pep Angles, Aaron Cockerill and Simon Forsström in the first group of the day.