Matthias Schwab is excited to get started on the European Challenge Tour and is aiming to make an immediate impact at the Hauts de France Golf Open.
The Austrian has long been touted as a hot prospect after he burst onto the scene at the 2010 Austrian Open, where he finished as his country’s highest-placed player when only 15 years old.
Fresh from a stellar amateur career at Vanderbilt University, where he reached third in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, the 22 year old is eager to make a name for himself in the professional game.
“I am really excited to get going,” said Schwab, who turned professional at last week’s Lyoness Open powered by ORGANIC+ in his homeland. “I’m really happy to be here and your first Challenge Tour start is always exciting.
“I don’t know what to expect and I’m not sure how things will go for me, but I’m really happy with how I’m playing.
“Last week was good. I’m struggling a little bit with my long game but hopefully I can get a good practice round in and then I’ll be ready to go on Thursday.”
Schwab, who as an 18 year old claimed a share of 14th at the 2013 Lyoness Open, also played in this year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill so arrives in Europe with plenty of experience of competing at the highest level.
Known as ’stallion’ to his coach and team mates while at university, Schwab believes he can start life as a professional with a canter rather than a gallop.
“My coach at university used to call me ‘stallion’,” he said. “I’m not sure why – I think I might have been a front runner and I used to show the way for the rest of the guys at times.
“My hopes are to play well and to just go out there and do my thing – to focus on what I’m good at. I think the key is to just be patient and to have faith in my game.
“I got back about a week and half ago from the States, and although it’s been busy it has also been really good.
“I haven’t played the course before but I’ve spoken to guys like Martin Wiegele who won here a few years ago. I have a few course notes already and hope I can get to know it immediately.”
Joining Schwab at Aa Saint Omer Golf Club is Ryan Evans, who will be looking to add a second Challenge Tour title to his trophy cabinet after he triumphed at the 2017 Turkish Airlines Challenge.
Canada’s Austin Connelly returns to action on the Road to Oman in fine form after back-to-back top 20 finishes on the European Tour, while KPMG Trophy runner-up Pedro Oriol will be hoping he can go one better this week.
Also making his Challenge Tour debut is amateur Manuel De Los Santos, a one-legged golfer from the Dominican Republic who has previously played in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.