The revised European Tour schedule in the wake of the coronavirus crisis meant a fortnight in Austria would kick off proceedings and a fresh venue takes centre stage this week.
Golf Club Adamstal is shaped like a ski slope rather than a golf course – the spectacular layout is high in the mountains – and the Euram Bank Open competitors will enjoy their balls flying extra distances in the thin air.
Players who teed up in the Austrian Open at Diamond Country Club last week should adjust quicker than those making their first post-lockdown appearance.
Experienced Scot Marc Warren won the Austrian Open, carrying his own clubs throughout, so maybe this week others will follow that lead and not bother with a caddie.
Warren used the event to get a faltering career back on track – and the Euram Bank Open field is full of similar characters who are looking to use the low-grade gathering to revive their fortunes.
At the other end of the spectrum, talented South African Garrick Higgo is eager to show why he is rated one of the most promising youngsters in the sport.
Luiten Looking to Make up for Sunday Flop
For the second week running, Joost Luiten will start the European Tour event as favourite, but punters must forgive a terrible Sunday performance in the Austrian Open if they are to put their trust in the diminutive Dutchman.
Luiten birdied the final hole of round three at Diamond CC to move to within two shots of the lead and set up a golden winning opportunity, but the following day he quickly surrendered. The six-times Tour champion dropped four shots from the fifth hole through the eighth, then made nine consecutive pars on the back nine, slumping to a share of 18th place.
Luiten is making his course debut at a track which hosted a Challenge Tour event in 2018 and 2019. The amount of silverware in his locker is the reason such short odds of
5/1 are against his name.
Accurate Italian May Be Ready for Breakthrough
If Luiten represents poor value at the head of the market, perhaps improving Italian Francesco Laporta is a better option at
30/1. Laporta was the dominant force on the Challenge Tour in the closing months of last season and it should not be long before the 29-year-old gets off the mark on the European Tour.
Laporta won the Challenge Tour Grand Final in November, hot on the heels of a Hainan Open triumph, and he can relax after the announcement that his European Tour card is safe until the end of 2021. Due to the coronavirus crisis, everyone’s status will remain unchanged, so his slow start to life on the main circuit is nothing to fret about.
Laporta has an ideal game for GC Adamstal and he finished 11th there in the 2018 Challenge Tour gathering. The action starts Wednesday morning and finishes Saturday.