- Austrian Open
Established in 1990, the Austrian Open is a men’s professional tournament on the European Tour. After seven editions, it dropped down to the Challenge Tour between 1997 and 2005 before returning to the main circuit. Like nearly all championships at this level, it’s played over four rounds at a designated venue, with a sudden-death playoff taking place if two or more players are tied on the same aggregate score.
There was no event staged in either 2000 or 2019 and the Open was reduced to three rounds in 2008 due to bad weather. A variety of title sponsors have been associated with the competition down the years, starting with Mitsubishi in 1991 and they’ve included the likes of Diners Club, Bank Austria and the Austrian shopping community Lyoness with its affiliated Greenfinity foundation.
The first three editions were held at Gut Altentann near Salzburg, with Bernhard Langer winning the inaugural event after a playoff against Lanny Wadkins. The 1993 Austrian Open then transferred 300 kilometres east to Colony Club Gutenhof, outside Vienna, where Ronan Rafferty won the last of his seven European Tour titles after a playoff against Anders Sørensen on the West course.
The big man from Northern Ireland had previously contested four playoffs (the 1986 Italian Open, the 1989 Dutch Open, the 1990 Atlantic Open and the 1992 Dubai Desert Classic) and lost them all but this time he prevailed over his Swedish opponent, winning with a par on the first extra hole.
The competition then headed 200 kilometres north, very close to the border with the Czech Republic at the Haugschlag resort, where it was played for three years. Another famous golfer from the Emerald Isle, Paul McGinley won the 1996 event here with a nineteen under par total of 269, holding off his nearest rivals by one stroke.
The following year, the Austrian Open was on the move for another 3-year residency, this time in the south of the country, not too far from the Slovenian border at Golf Club Millstätter See. Three different champions emerged during the tournament’s time at this club: Erol Simsek from Turkey in 1997, Kevin Carissimi from the United States in 1998 and Juan Ciola from Switzerland in 1999.
In 2001, the Bernhard von Limburger-designed course at Golfclub Murhof near Graz hosted the first of two consecutive Austrian Opens at the start of the new millennium but local supporters would have to wait until the following year before a fellow countryman would be crowned the national champion, when Markus Brier won by one shot.
Fontana Golf & Country Club was next on the Austrian Open rota and it stayed at this club outside Vienna for seven years. Markus Brier completed his hat-trick of victories in 2004 and 2006 and two of the other winners at Fontana had to endure the ordeal of a playoff before lifting the trophy: Englishman Robert Coles in 2005 and Australian Richard Green in 2007.
The championship moved from south of the capital to the north in 2010 and it’s been staged at Diamond Country Club ever since. Austrian Bernd Wiesberger held off Thomas Levy and Shane Lowry to win by three shots in 2012 then he lost in a playoff to Mikael Lundberg the following year, with the Swede birdieing the first extra hole.
Austrian Open Top 100 Leaderboard