Aside from the 17 Dutch players in the field, it is hard to imagine anyone will have been looking forward to this week’s KLM Open more than Simon Dyson (pictured by Getty Images).
The Englishman has recorded half of his six European Tour victories in the event, with two of those wins coming at the current host venue, Kennemer Golf and Country Club, in 2006 and 2009, alongside his victory at Hilversumsche Golf Club in 2011.
He also finished third when the KLM Open returned to the Zandvoort course 12 months ago for the first time in four years, and the 36 year old admits he is relishing being back in The Netherlands, as he targets a place in the record books.
No player has won the KLM Open four times, while Dyson is also bidding to become just the seventh player to win a European Tour event on four separate occasions.
“It’s one of the first flights I book for the year,” said Dyson, who is joined by former champions Peter Hanson and David Lynn for the opening two rounds. “I absolutely love it here. I remember the first time I came in 2006 and playing the course and thinking it suits my eye straight away. I beat Richard Green in a play-off and then came back in 2009 and managed to beat Peter Lawrie and Peter Hedblom in a play-off. So if I manage to get in my play-off this year, I fancy my chances.
“I was third last year as well and I’m not saying I should have won it, but I think I should’ve been in a play-off then too. I doubled the 15th and then a five on the 16th from the middle of the fairway. So to finish third is obviously a good result, but I walked off disappointed. So we will see what this year offers.
“This place and this tournament definitely inspires me. There isn’t a hole that I don’t enjoy. I always fancy standing on that first tee and shooting a decent score.”
Dyson has enjoyed a solid season to date, with six top ten finishes to his name, including a share of seventh position in his last appearance in the 71° OPEN D’ITALIA Presented by DAMIANI a fortnight ago.
Currently in 35th position on The Race to Dubai, Dyson is hoping this could be the week when everything finally comes together for him, having made some subtle changes to his swing in recent weeks.
“I’ve been playing nicely this year,” he said. “For a few weeks this year, I’ve actually scored better than I have played. I’ve played alright but I got in a few bad habits and I started rectifying them in Italy.
“That was probably as good as I’ve played all year. I’ve not seen a coach in quite a while and those bad habits have crept in, such as I was hitting a seven iron off my left foot. So I’ve moved it back in my stance and I’ve started getting a really good strike on the ball and a good flight. I needed to go back to simple things and I can tell it is working as the ball flight is a lot, lot better.
“One week it could all kick in, and maybe it could be this week. Sometimes it just takes something like coming to a venue you like to make it happen. Last week, Graeme Storm showed what a weird game this is. By his own admission, he hadn’t been playing well, and all of a sudden he is in a play-off. It just shows how quickly you can turn it around.”
Defending champion is Dutchman Joost Luiten, who defeated Spaniard Miguel Angel Jiménez in a play-off last year.