Luiten banks on home support for treble bid
Golf: Defending champion is going for third KLM Open title
Defending champion Joost Luiten is banking on home support to help him overcome bad weather and a cold game as he looks to win a third KLM Open title this week.
He equalled the course record with a closing 63 at The Dutch, Spijek, Groningen, last year to win his home event for the second time in four years and claim a fifth European Tour title.
That helped the 31-yearold finish the year just outside the world’s top 50 but he has slipped to 94th in the rankings after recording just one top-10 finish in 18 events in 2017.
“It’s always good to be playing at home,” said Luiten. “We only get to do it once a year, so it’s always a week where I know I am going to be really busy but also a week that I should enjoy as much as possible.
“The final round last year was one of those days that you dream about. To play so well and then give myself a chance on the back nine, then to actually win the tournament was an Lexi Thompson has wanted to be world number one since she was 12 years old but insists she is not focusing on her chance to achieve that goal at the Evian championship at Evian-les-Bains, France.
World number one Ryu So-yeon’s position is under threat from Thompson and Park Sung-hyun in the final major of the year, with the world’s top three in the same group for the first two rounds.
Only a win will be enough for Park to become number one, while Thompson can claim top spot by finishing fourth or better in France, depending what Ryu and Park do.
The 22-year-old American goes into the event on the back of her second victory of the season at the Indy Women in Tech championship and admits she first thought about becoming world number one a decade ago.
“I would say (it was) when I decided that I wanted to turn professional, which was when I was like 12 years old,” said Thompson.
“We all want to be the best player in the world but we’re all just trying to do our best out here and working hard on our games.
“(Age) 12 was when I made it to my first US Women’s Open and I just realised that was always a dream of mine.
“I saw a lot of my role models there that week, and I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”