Joost Luiten fired up for first ever title defence at Lyoness Open


He’s the punters favourite to retain his title, but Joost Luiten is taking nothing for granted this week when he steps onto the field ready to defend a title for the first time in his career at the Lyoness Open in Austria.

The Dutchman has finished inside the top-15 in three of the last four events, securing victory by two shots from Thomas Björn last year and then going on to claim a third European Tour title by winning the KLM Open on home soil three months later.

Luiten has managed to so far carry that form into 2014 – posting three top-10 finishes and also finishing tied for 12th on his last appearance in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

The goal is of course a Ryder Cup debut at Gleneagles in September, and right now that is a very realistic target for the in-from 28-year-old. But first he needs a polished performance at Diamond Country Club.

"I like the place, I like the course and the people are really nice," he is quoted as saying at Golfmagic.com.

"It's always nice winning tournaments, and this will be my first time that I'm going to defend, so I'm really looking forward to it.

"Last year I basically led from the beginning until the end, and it's a bit different pressure than when you come from behind.

"It was a good experience and I was very proud that I kept it going the last round and won by two.

"I think I’ve learned a lot from those victories last year and I'm more experienced now. I think I have changed a little bit over the last year with two wins, and it makes you a better player."