Luiten banks on home sup­port for tre­ble bid

Golf: De­fend­ing cham­pion is go­ing for third KLM Open ti­tle

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - SPORT -

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.”

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