Carey leads Irish quartet into Alps Tour’s ‘5th Major’

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David Carey (Photo by Patrick Bolger/Getty Images)

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David Carey heads Ireland’s traveling quartet as the Alps Tour returns after a four-week break for the Gösser Open or ‘5th Major’ as it is sometimes referred to by members of the Tour.

Golf Club Erzherzog Johann plays host to the 29th edition of the event this year with just three more tournaments to go this season as the players aim for points on the Order of Merit.

With the top-3 on the standings earning full playing privileges to the Challenge Tour next season, Darwin Escapes pro Carey sits on 19th on the table, needing a win to rekindle his hopes of promotion onto Europe’s secondary Tour. Gary Hurley will hope his game continues to trend in the right direction after enjoying two top-10 finishes this term while Simon Bryan and Rhys Clarke complete the Irish line-up.

Meanwhile, seven out of the eight winners to date this season line up this week in Austria. The absentee from the victors’ list is the Spanish two-time winner and currently first on the OofM, Angel Hidalgo Portillo. However, the number two, Ryan Lumsden from Scotland, who also has a brace of wins this season with the MIRA Golf Experience Acaya Open plus Alps de Las Castillas and a close second at the recent Roma Alps Letas Open will be looking for that illusive third.

Winner of the last event, Frenchman Xavier Poncelet, currently twelfth on the OofM, will be more than focussed on repeating the feat here in Austria. His compatriots, the amateur Paul Margolis, winner of the MIRA Live the Soul Open and Franck Medale, victor at the Open de Mirabelle d’Or, fourth and fifth respectively on the OofM will be ready to give him a run for his money. They are joined by Thomas Elissade who previously won the Gösser Open back in 2014.

The other three 2021 title holders head a thirty-two strong Italian contingent: Jacopo Vecchi Fossa, winner of the Abruzzo Alps Open, the Antognolla Alps Open champion, Stefano Mazzoli, and Luca Ciancetti, victor at the Red Sea Little Venice Open. Sitting third, seventh and ninth on the OofM, they all have everything to play for.

The host country is represented by forty-two players, more than half of which are amateurs. Florian Thuller and Maximilian Klaus recently both had top ten finishes in the 2021 Austrian Amateur Championship. Among the pros, there are two former Alps Tourwinners Clemens Gaster at the 2017 Alps de Andalucia and Uli Weinhandl whose wins may go back to the 2009/2010 season but who has had eighteen top ten finishes to date. The last two Gösser Open winners, Lukas Nemecz 2020 and Timon Balt 2019 were Austrian. Both are absent from the field this year, but their countrymen will be keen to keep the trophy at home.

Events get underway on Wednesday with the Pro-Am and weather conditions promise to be mild with periods of sunshine, light breezes, and no rain for the duration of the tournament.

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