Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Brier lends support to Austrian Event

Austria’s favourite golfing son Markus Brier will follow in the footsteps of his fellow European Tour Members Thomas Björn, Marcel Siem and Henrik Stenson in lending his support to a Challenge Tour event, the Kärnten Golf Open presented by Markus Brier Foundation at Golf Club Klagenfurt-Seltenheim in Austria. For the first time in a decade the Challenge Tour will return to the golfing hotbed of Carinthia in southern Austria for the new tournament, which will take place from June 4-7 and will mark the first leg of a tremendous fortnight for professional golf in the country, with the Austrian Golf Open taking place at Fontana Golf Club on The European Tour the following week. The Diners Club Austrian Open was played in Carinthia in 1999, when a certain Justin Rose of England earned his first paycheque for finishing fourth – one place behind Brier, who went on to graduate from the Challenge Tour in third place with earnings of €50,184, thanks largely to a further eight top ten finishes. Brier has retained his card ever since, and in 2006 he became the first Austrian golfer to win on The European Tour when he triumphed on home soil at the BA-CA Golf Open presented by Telekom Austria – a tournament he had won twice in its previous incarnation as a Challenge Tour event. Now the 40 year old, who added the 2007 Volvo China Open to his CV, has agreed to give something back to the Challenge Tour by lending his considerable support to the €140,000 event. Brier said: “I gained my European Tour card in 1999 through the Challenge Tour, which over the years has developed into a fantastic stage for up-and-coming young players. Through my own recently-established Foundation, which will present this tournament, we also help and support a group of promising young Austrian golfers. I therefore applaud the efforts of sponsor Land Kärnten and promoter Peter Hofstätter in organising this event, which will help increase the game’s popularity in Austria.” The 6,286 metres, par 72 Championship Course at Golf Club Klagenfurt-Seltenheim was designed by Perry Dye, the eldest son of one of the world’s leading golf course designers, Peter Dye. The sheer number of water hazards makes for a tough test and that is particularly true of the par three eighth hole, where players face a daunting tee shot to an island green. The surrounding scenery is equally spectacular, with Lake Wörthersee and the Karawanken mountain range both found in Klagenfurt, which is the capital of the Carinthia province. Peter Hofstätter, owner of promoters Ticon Sports, said: “We are delighted with the decision to bring the Challenge Tour back to Carinthia. We will do our utmost to ensure a great week for the Challenge Tour players, and I am sure they will enjoy the hospitality for which Carinthia is famous. Along with my friend Markus and the Austrian Golf Federation, I’m really looking forward to a great week of golf.” Alain de Soultrait, Director of the Challenge Tour, said: “This will be the 12th Challenge Tour event in Austria since our first visit in 1997, so we are delighted to maintain our links with the country. I have heard so many great things about the course, which should provide our Members with a great challenge. “It is fantastic news that the event will be presented by Markus Brier, who follows fellow Challenge Tour graduates Thomas Björn, Marcel Siem and Henrik Stenson in lending his support to one of our events. Their support is essential not only for the recognition they give to the Challenge Tour, but also for the Tour’s future development. We should also thank the Austrian Golf Federation and promoters Ticon Sports, without whom this tournament would not have been possible.”

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