In search of success, home comfort a boost for Caroline

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Caroline Hedwall is a force to reckon with at this week's Didriksons Skafto Open on the Ladies European Tour. Photo: Tristan Jones
Caroline Hedwall is a force to reckon with at this week's Didriksons Skafto Open on the Ladies European Tour. Photo: Tristan Jones/LET

Caroline Hedwall is eager to make the most of home advantage as the Ladies European Tour descends into Sweden for back-to-back tournaments, starting with the Didriksons Skafto Open.

The 32-year-old produced a stellar display earlier in the season in the Scandinavian Mixed hosted by Henrik and Annika — heading into the final day tied for the lead before eventually finishing T18 — as she made the most of performing on home soil.

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And just two months later she has the chance to put on a display in her homeland once again, with the four-time Solheim Cup player pitting her wits against 24 other Swedes in the field this week, before travelling South to the Creekhouse Ladies Open next weekend.

 

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The familiarity with local conditions could play into the hands of the 2018 Lacoste Ladies Open de France winner, with strong winds expected throughout the weekend on the banks of the North Sea.

“I’m excited to be back playing in Sweden again, I had a good week at the Scandinavian Mixed earlier in the year and it’s good to have another two weeks over here now as well,” she said.

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“I’m going to just try and enjoy myself because I love playing at home so it will be a fun week.

“It’s going to be a tricky one with the wind here this week — it’s at least a three-club wind right now but I’m up for the challenge and I think it’s going to be fun.”

The LET tournaments are coming thick and fast over the next few weeks, with the Swedish double-header followed by a trip to Switzerland for the VP Bank Swiss Ladies Open before the Lacoste Ladies Open de France rounds off a frantic four-week stretch.

And the constant competition is something that Hedwall believes can bring out the best in her game, with the Stockholm-based star feeling as good as ever heading into the competition.

“The more you play the more comfortable you feel out on the course, and with this four-week stretch I hope I’ll find momentum and feel comfortable out there,” she said.

“I feel like my game is in good shape and I’m hoping I can be up there in contention over the next stretch of tournaments and compete for the win.”

As ever, there are plenty of Race to Costa del Sol points on offer this week, and Steph Kyriacou is one of those in the race for top spot as we head into the business end of the season, with the Australian sitting in second place ahead of the week’s play.

 

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The 20-year-old sits on 1239.85 points after playing 11 events this year, with Atthaya Thitikul continuing to lead the way on 2047.46 at the summit of the standings.

After finishing third in the race last year, the 2020 LET Rookie of the Year is hoping to go even better this time around and following a career-high Major finish of T13 at the AIG Women’s Open last week, she is as confident as ever on the greens of Skafto Golf Club.

“I played pretty good, and I just hope I can finish out the season the same way. If you told me at the start of the week that I’d be top 15 I’d be happy, but the way my last round was going I felt like I could have won it,” Kyriacou said.

“It would be cool to win the Race to Costa del Sol, I came third last year so if I came first or second it would be nice. Third is good but it’s not a win. I want to win.”

There are also a number of LETAS players taking to the course this week, with the next generation of golfing talent pitting their wits on the highest stage in Sweden.

Among them are 21-year-old Maja Stark, who secured a maiden professional win at the PGA Championship By Trelleborgs Kommun in only her second start on LETAS earlier this week.

And Stark, who competed in the 2017 PING Junior Solheim Cup, is looking to make a memorable week even better in Skafto, with another victory in her sights as she looks to propel her golfing career to new heights.

She said: “I always go into a tournament trying to win, otherwise I don’t see the point in being there, and I’m going to try and win again, I don’t see why not. I always have a chance of winning – I just have to play my normal game.

“I’ve been here many times before, and played the course many times already, so it’s hopefully an advantage.

“I want to play Majors, I want to play the Solheim Cup, and the first stage of that is getting into the Tour, so hopefully I’ll be playing regularly on the big stage soon.”

Also among the field is Nicole Broch Estrup, who tasted success the last time an all-female LET event was played in Sweden – the Helsingborg Open in 2015.

2021 Race to Costa del Sol leader Atthaya Thitikul will also be teeing it up in Skafto, as well as home favourites Linda Wessberg, Pernilla Lindberg and Jenny Haglund.

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