It has been a busy year for André Bossert, who returns to his home country — and Golf Club Bad Ragaz — to take on an elite over-50s field in the Swiss Seniors Open, which features a tournament-record €320,000 prize fund.
The Swiss man travelled seven timezones after Sunday’s final round of the U.S. Senior Open in Colorado, but believes he will be as ready as ever to face the challenge of winning on home soil.
“This is paradise,” said Bossert. “It’s always nice to come into the mountains. I’m the ambassador of the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, so I’m here a few times throughout the year and it’s always a pleasure to get back here.
“I only got back Tuesday morning and then straight into a clinic, so there’s been a little bit of jetlag but the game’s in a good shape. I’m hitting the ball very nicely, physically I feel strong, so if I can get the putts going I’ll be alright.”
Successfully handling long-haul travel is an important part of being a professional golfer, which is why the 54 year old, who has made two trips to America in the past five weeks, is often the first person that up-and-coming Swiss professionals turn to for advice.
“I’m slipping into that role with having been around a while now, but I gladly do it,” said the Zurich resident. “With the younger guys, or guys who are thinking of turning pro, I often get a phone call and then we have a little chat.”
One player who has been paying close attention to Bossert, is fellow countryman Marco Iten. A burgeoning talent on the European Challenge Tour, Iten did not hesitate when he was asked which Swiss golfer he looked up to the most.
“It’s definitely André Bossert,” said the 27 year old. “He lives in the same area as me and if we’re both home we actually practice together at his course.
“I’ve been able to kind of pick his brain if there are ever any questions or just kind of seeing what he does in certain areas—not so much the game itself but everything around it. Things like how he’s organised and how he sets everything up, and that’s been such a big help.”
The elder statesman of Swiss golf, who has won on the Challenge Tour and the European Tour, will have his hands full as he searches for his second Staysure Tour victory.
1991 Masters Tournament Champion, and winning Ryder Cup Captain in 2006 Ian Woosnam headlines the star-studded field, which features 12 men who have represented Europe in The Ryder Cup, including Frenchman Jean van de Velde and 1989 European Number One Ronan Rafferty.
In the 22-year history of the Swiss Seniors Open, three champions have successfully defended their crown, which means of all the players to watch this week, England’s Philip Golding, who lifted the trophy last year, may be at the top of the list.
“Anyone who tees off tomorrow is always in with a chance to win and I’ve got good memories from last year,” said Golding. “I finished runner-up to Gordon Manson in 2015 so I’ve got a lot of good things going on in my head.
“I was in contention last week at the U.S. Senior Open after a couple of days and had a bad weekend with the putter, but the game feels good, and as always, you’re just one shot away from getting some good confidence back.”
Golding tees off at 10:51 am local time alongside Woosnam, while the home-favourite Bossert begins his first round at 11:24 am.
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