It’s hard to imagine a more satisfied player in this week’s European Masters field than the veteran Jason Norris who makes his debut as a European Tour member in Switzerland.
The 44-year-old tees off alongside France’s Gregory Bourdy and Italy’s Luca Galliano at 9.20am local time in Crans Montana, his first official start as a full member of the Tour.
Norris’ Fiji International victory three weeks ago has been one of the game’s feel good stories of the year and the popular South Australian will have plenty of support this week as he tackles the spectacular Crans-sur-Sierre layout.
Nathan Holman and Norris are shining examples of the value of co-sanctioning arrangements between the PGA Tour of Australasia and European Tour with both earning their European status via home based events.
Brett Rumford, too, has been a beneficiary, the long-time European Tour member without status for the first time in several years before winning the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth in his home town in February.
All three are in the field for this week’s Asian Tour co-sanctioned tournament at one of the most popular destinations the Tour visits all year.
Crans Montana is universally regarded as the most spectacular tournament venue on the schedule with breathtaking views providing a stunning backdrop to the golf.
A total of 11 Australasians have made the journey to Switzerland, Wade Ormsby, Jason Scrivener, Scott Hend, Andrew Dodt, Sam Brazel, Todd Sinnott, Marcus Fraser and New Zealand’s Ryan Fox joining Norris, Holman and Rumford.
Two Australians have won the event previously, Brett Rumford in 2007 and Graham Marsh claiming the inaugural title in 1972.
Scott Hend came within a whisker of making it a trifecta last year when losing in a playoff to the red-hot Alex Noren and will be keen to make amends this week.
Hend has two European Tour victories to his name but neither has come on European soil and he has been open about his desire to correct that anomaly.
The big hitting Queenslander has flown from the US where he is trying to gain access to the PGA TOUR via the four tournament Web.com Finals, a decent showing in the first event in Ohio last week suggesting his game is in good shape.
With the Finals having a break this week Hend, who plays one of the fuller schedules in world golf, has taken the opportunity to head to Europe and is a good chance to be among the contenders come Sunday.
Brett Rumford, too, will like his chances, the West Australian boasting a good record around the Swiss layout though his recent form has been less than his best.
With four missed cuts in his last five starts Rumford will be pleased to get back to a course where he feels comfortable and has three top 20 finishes in his last four appearances.
Jason Scrivener is the form player among the Australasians coming in having produced some excellent golf last weekend to climb the leaderboard at the Czech Masters.
Scrivener has been decent all year without doing anything particularly well and though he missed the cut in his only previous start here in 2015 will bring confidence to the tee Thursday.
Marcus Fraser comes to Switzerland trying to break a run of missed cuts in a season that has had too many for a player of his ability.
The likeable Victorian has had 11 weekends off in 16 starts this year and will be looking to recapture the form that saw him finish second at this venue in 2012.
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