Home favourite Joost Luiten is keen to make up for lost time when he tees it up at the 100th edition of the KLM Open in Amsterdam.
The 33-year-old was forced to miss last year’s event at The Dutch due to a wrist injury which sidelined the six-time European Tour winner for five months, however he is optimistic ahead of this week’s event, which will be hosted at The International for the first time.
“I am really excited. I missed it last year and I was gutted I couldn’t play because of my wrist operation but that is also part of being a professional golfer, sometimes you need to take care of your body. So I’m really happy to be back.
“I love this event. I have done well in the past, I’ve won it twice and had a couple good results, so for some reason this always feels like my event really and hopefully we can take that feeling on to the golf course again.
Luiten – a two time winner of his national open – overcame Spaniard Miguel Ángel Jiménez in a play-off in 2013 at Kennemer Golf & Country Club before going on to win by three shots at The Dutch in 2016. If he was to add another trophy to his cabinet this week, the Dutchman would join an elite group of Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer and Simon Dyson as the only players to secure three triumphs in his homeland.
Defending champion Wu Ashun is also excited to return to the Netherlands following his dramatic victory 12 months ago. He became the first Chinese player to win three times on the European Tour, sinking his birdie putt on the final hole to secure a one-stroke victory over Englishman Chris Wood at The Dutch, and is hoping those positive memories will serve him well on a different course this year.
“The course looks great,” said Wu. “I played nine holes this morning and the conditions of the greens and fairways are very good, but we don’t know about the wind. It can be quite breezy, so this golf course will be tough.
“I am very happy to come back to the KLM Open and defend my title. I still the remember winning like yesterday, the memories come back quite quickly, and it is very exciting to be back here. Last year is still exciting, every shot is still in your mind, so very happy to be back at the KLM Open.”
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Meanwhile, two time Major Champion Martin Kaymer returns to action after a five week break following his tied 20 th result at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open in July.
Kaymer is a former winner of this event claiming victory in 2010 at Hilversumsche Golf Club and after recharging his batteries away from golf, the German is looking for a strong finish to his 2019 Race to Dubai campaign.
“I needed a break after that super, super busy summer of going from one tournament straight to another and I couldn’t prepare for tournaments anymore, so I needed a break and I didn’t really know how long I needed a break for.
“I took five weeks off because my brother got married two weeks ago and a good friend of mine got married last week. The first three weeks I didn’t really play golf at all because of the busy summer, but then the last two weeks I’ve prepared a little bit for the rest of the season. It was such a nice feeling to get away from the golf course, and then look forward to seeing everybody and play the game.
“I won the tournament but on a different course. I really enjoyed Hilversumsche, great year in general in 2010 for me, winning my first Major and winning so close to home. It is one of those tournaments that I really enjoy because I can almost drive home whenever I have a late tee time the next day, I will stay at my own place and it is very comfortable.”