Euan Walker warms to task after coming out of cold storage for Austrian Open

Euan Walker admitted it was “really satisfying” to make the cut in his first tournament for four months and, even for a Scot, also not finding cold conditions to his liking.

Euan Walker in action during the Austrian Golf Open at Diamond Country Club in Atzenbrugg, near Vienna. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.
Euan Walker in action during the Austrian Golf Open at Diamond Country Club in Atzenbrugg, near Vienna. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.

It was mission accomplished for the 25-year-old Ayrshireman as he bounced back from finishing with five straight bogeys in an opening 77 in the Austrian Open with a 69 in the second circuit.

The three-under-par effort at Diamond Country Club in Atzenbrugg, near Vienna, saw Walker progress to the weekend with a shot to spare on two-over, joining David Drysdale (three-under), Grant Forrest (one-under) and Craig Howie (two-over) in keeping the Saltire flying.

“To be honest, I didn’t play well towards the finish yesterday and I’m really happy to finish strongly today,” said Walker after signing off with a birdie-3 at the ninth. “I hit a really good approach into the last from a fairway bunker and I’m very happy.”

Walker, who turned pro after playing in the 2019 Walker Cup, is making his first start since making the cut in the Golf in Dubai Championship presented by DP World in December.

“It’s been a long time since I played a tournament,” said the Kilmarnock (Barassie) man. “But I’ve had a lot of good experiences and played a lot of decent golf. I’m starting to feel this is where I can play more golf.

“It’s very different from being an amateur and I’ve tried to raise my game to the level that is needed to play out here and I hope I’ve seen some signs of that coming to fruition.

“My goal for the weekend is to try and keep playing how I did today as I was much better today.”

As cold conditions continued to prove a challenge, Spaniard Alejandro Canizares cemented his position at the top of the leaderboard after moving to seven-under, keeping him one ahead of both Martin Kaymer and John Catlin.

“Often, I find it difficult to play in really cold weather with lots of clothes on, so to come out this week in a full field and make the cut is really satisfying,” said Walker.

“The last four months at home, every day has been basically the same as we have had here this week.

“But the course is so much more demanding than the ones I have been practising on back home so I had to raise my game, which has been quite challenging.”

While Walker holds a Challenge Tour card, he is hoping to secure more starts on the main circuit in a new Canary Islands Swing over the next three weeks.

“I’m in for Gran Canaria then waiting to see about the two events Tenerife and I think I will be right on the edge,” said the 2019 Amateur Championship runner up.

“I’ve got to back myself that I can play well in these events. Me performing well might be different to some of the guys who have won out here or been on tour for 10 years.

“But as long as I can keep playing well and improving my performances, then there’s no reason why I can’t have good finishes in the next few weeks.”

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