Moritz Lampert arrives at this week’s Scottish Hydro Challenge hosted by Macdonald Hotels and Resorts hoping to follow in the footsteps of 2013 champion Brooks Koepka by claiming a third victory of the season and earning immediate promotion to The European Tour.
The German is the only player in the field for this week’s event, one of the most prestigious on the Challenge Tour schedule, with two wins under his belt already in 2014, having recently turned his season around with a pair of victories in the space of three weeks.
His maiden Challenge Tour win came at the Kärnten Golf Open presented by Mazda in May before he doubled his trophy haul at the Fred Olsen Challenge de España two weeks later, moving the 22 year old to second in the Rankings despite having played just five events.
This time last year a young American by the name of Koepka stormed to his third victory of the season in Scotland, earning an instant route to The European Tour, and he has since become one of the most talked-about young prospects in world golf, following a top five finish at the US Open Championship.
Lampert is hoping the astonishing progress of Koepka can inspire him as he attempts to return to the top tier of European golf, having earned a rookie campaign last year through Qualifying School.
“The win in Austria basically changed my whole season,” said Lampert, who is attached to European Tour Destination Golf Club St Leon-Rot. “I wasn’t really sure where I was going to play for the year as I didn’t have much of a category.
“The first win took a lot of pressure off my shoulders because I knew I could play for the rest of the season and pick tournaments until the end of the year. That helps a lot.
“My position has changed but I’m still trying to do the same things as I did before. I took a couple of weeks off because I was tired so I had some good practise, saw my coach and did some physical work too.
“I’m feeling good now and the course here is great. If you hit it straight off the tee you’ll get plenty of chances.
“It takes so much to win a tournament out here, there are so many good players. Of course I am always playing to win tournaments and if it happens this week like Brooks, great, but if not I just want to keep doing what I’m doing and see what happens for the rest of the season.”
Lampert can also draw some inspiration from a source a little closer to home - US Open Champion Martin Kaymer, who also claimed two wins in a short space of time on the Challenge Tour before graduating en route to the top of world golf.
“The way Martin won the US Open was just incredible,” he said. “Looking back, everybody was asking if he was ever going to make it back and then he just went and won two of the biggest tournaments he played.
“Now everybody’s saying he’s the best in the world again so everything can change so quickly. What makes him so strong is he just believes in himself. I think I can learn from that too.”
The only two-time winner of this tournament, Sam Walker of England, returns to Aviemore chasing a third Scottish Hydro Challenge title while Challenge Tour Rankings leader, Spaniard Jordi Garcia Pinto, is hoping to add to the title he won a fortnight ago at the Najeti Hotels et Golfs Open.
European Tour winners in the field include Welshman Rhys Davies, Jeppe Huldahl of Denmark and Scot Raymond Russell, while former Ryder Cup player Oliver Wilson also plays as the Englishman aims to make a return to The European Tour, where he has finished runner-up nine times
Source: European Tour