It had been nine years since a Swiss player won on the European Challenge Tour when Joel Girrbach took a one-shot lead into the final round of the Swiss Challenge presented by Association Suisse de Golf.
After opening rounds of 68-67-64 the Swiss national was handed extra time to think about the pressure he faced as the final day was delayed in starting due to heavy rain.
The then 23 year old showed remarkable poise however, and after he steadied himself with three opening pars, he pushed forward with consecutive birdies on the fourth and fifth holes before making the turn in three under par 33.
The wet conditions did not deter a sizeable crowd from turning out to watch Girrbach seal the deal with a back nine of even par 35, which gave him a two-stroke victory.
One year on, the Ermatingen resident is eagerly anticipating the feeling of playing in his home country, and on a course he believes offers a true test to the field.
“I’m looking forward to a great atmosphere like last year,” said Girrbach. “The course is in a good set-up again. There is high rough and thick grass around the greens so it’s a proper set-up, which fits my game quite well.
“The thing I remember most about last year was how much it meant to win in my home country and in front of my family.”
The success last year came as a slight surprise to the man who had only made one cut prior to his triumph.
“It’s a funny game that way,” he said. “I was not playing well and then suddenly I won. In golf, things can change quickly.”
Coming into this week’s Swiss Challenge presented by ASG, Girrbach feels that all facets of his game are much more sound now, and the results are there to back up the claim. He has made five of his seven cuts on the Challenge Tour plus one on the EuropeanTour at the ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth.
“I’m in a much better form this year, so I’m happy about that,” he said.