Schauffele looking forward to 'homecoming' at Porsche European Open

A quarter German on his father’s side he is teeing it up in Continental Europe for the first time this season

American Xander Schauffele will enjoy home support this week when he makes his first appearance in Germany at this year’s Porsche European Open.

Porsche European Open - Schauffele's homecoming
Credit: Getty Images

“It’s a long golf course, it’s the longest course I’ve ever played. Most of the holes played this morning in about 55 Fahrenheit. When I got here it was about 12.5 Celsius, playing a 660-yard hole in that temperature into the wind was probably the longest hole I’ve ever played in my life.”

The 25-year-old is a quarter German on his father’s side and is teeing it up in Continental Europe for the first time this season, bidding to add a second European Tour title to his trophy cabinet after his WGC-HSBC Champions victory in 2018.

“Being a quarter German, it’s cool to tap into my heritage and play in a home away from home. I’ve got my family here and a bunch of my father’s friends and friends I’ve known from a young age are coming out here on Friday for the weekend. I’ll be going to visit them in Berlin after this tournament – it’s a lot of fun – anything to help me feel comfortable away from home is always a nice thing.”

The World Number Nine is joined in the field at Green Eagle Golf Courses in Hamburg by compatriots Matt Kuchar, also making his first appearance at this event and playing in his first tournament in Germany in more than a decade, and 2018 Masters champion Patrick Reed – who finished ninth in Hamburg last year. Four-time European Ryder Cup player Paul Casey also returns to Hamburg, hoping to build on his seventh-place finish in 2018.

“It’s great to be back, I had a fantastic experience,” said Kuchar. “I had a great time in Hamburg – the city was amazing and I actually saw the Dalai Lama speak, which was a real highlight being in his presence. Being invited to come to the Porsche European Open, I was excited.

“We love to travel and go to new places – tying in a tournament and the experiences of the Porsche European Open, I did the driving experience yesterday and what a thrill that was – you feel like a kid again.”

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Defending champion Richard McEvoy, who won his first title in what was his 285 th European Tour appearance, finishing one stroke ahead of Sweden’s Christofer Blomstrand, Renato Paratore of Italy and then-amateur Allen John of Germany, will begin his week in the company of Casey and Reed.

“It’s great to be back somewhere that I really enjoyed last year with my first victory on Tour,” said McEvoy. “It put a smile on my face straight away as soon as I turned up here, knowing that I was coming back to somewhere I had great feelings from last year.

“This year hasn’t been the year that I had hoped for so far. I’ve had slight injury problems and stuff which haven’t helped but it’s nice to come back somewhere and get some good feelings and good vibes to try and help turn my year around.”

Also teeing it up this week are Bernd Wiesberger, winner of his first Rolex Series event at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open in July, last month’s D+D Real Czech Masters champion Thomas Pieters.

The 150-man field face the formidable Porsche Nord Course in Hamburg, the third-longest course visited by the European Tour this season. The 663-yard par five 16 th hole is also the longest at any event in 2019.

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