The European Tour heads for Sweden this week and the 23rd edition of the Nordea Masters. An impressive list of stars will tee off at the Bro Hof Slott Golf Club in Stockholm.
After last week’s BMW PGA Championship, a number of the top players are on the start sheet again for this tournament. After his superb victory at Wentworth, all eyes will be on the young Italian Matteo Manassero. Can he make it two wins in a row?
Both the men he beat in the playoff at the BMW – Simon Khan and Marc Warren – will be hoping to go one better this time out. Warren is a former champion here, having tasted victory in 2006.
Also on the entry list this week are: Paul Casey, Miguel Angel Jimenez, both Molinari brothers and 2011 winner Alex Noren. He’s one of no less than 25 Swedes who’ll make a start at Bro Hof Slott. Home hopes will be high with the likes of Peter Hanson and Jonas Blixt in the field.
This tournament began life as the Scandinavian Masters back in 1991. That event was won by Colin Montgomerie and, since then, Nick Faldo, Vijay Singh, Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Luke Donald and Graeme McDowell have been amongst the champions.
Last season Lee Westwood claimed his third victory in this event. He cruised home, beating countryman Ross Fisher by five strokes. The Englishman will not be back to defend this time out.
Bro Hof Slott GC is a Robert Trent Jones Jnr creation that only opened for play in 2007. It’s a beautiful course set right on the waterside, it’s already considered the best track in Sweden. At over 7,600 yards, it’s also one of the longest courses on the European Tour circuit.
Venue: Bro Hof Slott GC, Stockholm, Sweden
Date: May 30 – Jun 2
Course stats: par 72, 7,607 yards
Purse: €1,500,000 Winner: €250,000
Defending Champion: Lee Westwood (-19)
Thursday 30 – Sky Sports 1 from 10am
Friday 31 – Sky Sports 2 from 10am
Saturday 1 – Sky Sports 4 from 12.30pm
Sunday 2 – Sky Sports 2 from 12.30pm
Jonas Blixt – He might be a lesser-known Swede to fans of the European Tour, but he’s been a winner on the PGA Tour and was just outside the top-10 in last week’s Crowne Plaza Invitational. He’ll be looking for a good result in his home event.
Marc Warren – The Scot will be disappointed to have missed out in the playoff at Wentworth but he’ll aim to keep the excellent form he showed there going this week. He’s a former champion of this event.
Mikko Ilonen – Another past winner of the Nordea Masters, Ilonen is on great form at the moment. He was tied 12th last week and has two runner-up finishes to his name from his last four starts on the European Tour.
Key hole: 17th. On the card it may look innocuous as just a 160 yard par 3. But, it has an island green in the style of the famous 17th at Sawgrass. It’s green or bust on this one and we could see some players’ chances ending in a watery grave come Sunday afternoon.
Skills required: Length. This is a long course and will play its full yardage. The guys who can carry the ball a good distance from the tee will be at a distinct advantage.
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