Austrian International Amateur
Once again i play the International Austrian Amateur Championship which takes place on the golf course Linz St. Florian.
Together with two other players selected by Swiss-Golf and with Philippe Freiburghaus as Team Coach of Switzerland, we travel to Linz with the team bus on Tuesday morning. Tired from the long drive we check in at the hotel and go directly to the golf course Linz ST.Florian, where we register for the tournament and play our first practice round.
After the 18 holes, we discuss our first insights and impressions of the course over dinner and prepare for the “strategically oriented practice round”.
The day starts early as we have already reserved a tee time at 08:00. Today we play 18 holes in competition mode, playing against each other internally and defining a team-internal punishment for the losers. We do this to put ourselves under pressure – playing under pressure should be simulated.
After finishing the round, we have a short training session in the afternoon to improve distance control and to get a feeling for the greens.
Tournament Day 1
Today I begin in the morning group and I am very motivated for the tournament. I play a solid round with 2 strokes under PAR, placing myself in the TOP 20, which is a good base. The long game is good, the short game is good too, but I have big problems with the 50m to 120m shots. So after the round it is important to get these distances under control. On the driving range I work on these distances and now I feel ready for the next day.
Tournament Day 2
The starting times in the 120 participants’ field are reversed and so I start in the afternoon group on the second day. The balls are flying further because it is warmer and the greens are dryer and therefore even faster than in the morning. With this information and a good long game I start into the second round.
My distance control on the long shots is very good, but I have problems to get a good birdie chance. After the first 9 holes I am two over PAR and I know that I still have to make up some ground on the second 9 holes. Fortunately I managed to do so and I was able to finish the second round with a PAR round.
But… today my putting was weak. With 38 putts on 18 holes I have 8 putts more than on my current average rounds. So now I know what to do. Training on the putting green – that must be done now!
Tournament Day 3 – Moving Day
With the current two under PAR I am just in the TOP 30 and 8 shots behind the leading French player, who is about number 100 in WAGR.
I have a very solid start into the third round and after 9 lanes I am three under PAR. On the green, I feel very comfortable and score three more birdies on the second 9 holes. On hole 12, I even manage to get a chip in – to the eagle, which lets me finish my round with a fantastic 8 under PAR. – this is the best result I have played in my career so far. Unbelievable: I beat the course record of 7 under par and I’m the new course record holder. – Unfortunately, I only have 30 minutes left, because Christoph Bleier (AUT), a local player, played a round of 10 under PAR and therefore broke my course record on the same day. I congratulate Bleier on his new course record and introduce myself, we play together on the final day.
Tournament Day 4 – final day
With my 8 under PAR the day before I am now on the third position 6 shots behind the leader and 3 shots behind the runner-up – so I have moved up 20 places. In the “Leaderflight” with the two ” rivals” I have the direct comparison today at any time and always know who has how many strokes on the scorecard so I become the hunter, because nobody expects me. My sister Gianna is my caddy today and helps me to play relaxed and concentrated. I want to win a little and not hedge my back.
The first 9 holes I play really good golf and can write 6 birdies on my scorecard, four birdies I write in a row. My opponents take me seriously… that’s good. On hole 10 I hole in for another birdie and am now -7 after 10 holes on this extreme course. After a solid PAR on hole 11 I manage a phenomenal shot, giving myself an eagle chance, which I take without hesitation. I am now 9 under PAR after 12 holes.
On the difficult 13 I am lucky and my ball jumps with a high kick on the green and gives me another birdie chance. Today I use them all – the putts are “routine” and I am on course record run after 13 holes and taking the lead. With this thought in my head I make a bogey on holes 14 & 16, which puts me back to -8. For the last two holes I know that I am on the same level as the leader and the runner-up – my IT-head was quick to calculate – and now the last two holes will decide.
On hole 17, my “competitors” each play a bogey – they show their nerves, and fall back one stroke, so that I now take the lead on hole 18. I have the honour to play a clean drive and a soft iron relatively tense on the green and still have 6 metres to the hole. Birdie Putt? I concentrate on this putt like I have never concentrated for a putt before. I take a breath, my heartbeat is pumping, I read the line two or three times from each side, because my opponents still have to deal with the sand bunker and green line. The most important putt in my golf history so far is coming up – and I leave the putt 50cm too short. Tactically ok, because my competitors must hole their shots. As nervous as never before I go to my ball, my competitors play bogey and PAR and I hole my putt quickly and accurately – tournament victory!
Applause from all sides – an unusual, new, but extremely emotional moment for me, my family and my coach Philippe Freiburghaus. Thanks to all who always support me – my intensive work is paying off!