The European and Ladies European Tours will combine this week to stage the inaugural Scandinavian Mixed Hosted by Henrik & Annika. Vallda Golf & Country Club will welcome 78 players from each Tour, who will be competing on the same golf course for the same trophy and prize money.
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Erik van Rooyen won the event when it was played at Hills Golf & Sports Club as the Scandinavian Invitation in 2019.
COURSE: Vallda Golf & Country Club, in Sweden, opened its Martin Hawtree-designed course in 2009 and will host its first Tour event this week. The layout, designed to play hard and fast, is relatively flat and is quite open. The green sites, with their subtle undulations and bold bunkering, can prove to be challenging. The par-72 will play 6,458 from the tips this week.
PRIZEMONEY: EUR 1,000,000.
PLAYERS TO WATCH …
Tournament co-host Henrik Stenson has only made three cuts from his 11 most recent starts worldwide and hasn’t posted anything better than a share of 38th all year.
Stenson, who has amassed 11 European Tour titles and six PGA Tour titles, hasn’t won on any major tour since he claimed the Wyndham Championship in 2017 and has slipped to 145th in the world rankings.
The “Iceman” arrives at Vallda off the back of his missed cut at the Porsche European Open – where he shot two 77s – and will be eager to right the ship on home soil.
RIGHT: Maverick Antcliff will be hoping to capitalise on his recent good form in Sweden this week. PHOTO: Christof Koepsel/Getty Images.
Aussie rising star Maverick Antcliff will, of course, be feeling disappointed after failing to convert his 36-hole lead at the European Open last week. But he will also be champing at the bit to make amends and should be feeling confident about his game.
The Queenslander, who earnt his European Tour card for 2020 after dominating the China Golf Tour throughout 2019, knows what it takes to close out tournaments and shouldn’t be feeling too discouraged after last week’s final round.
Antcliff, 28, has now recorded four top-25s this season – including his runner-up finish at the Canary Islands Championship last month – and should be expected to contend once again this week, as he continues the hunt for his maiden European Tour title.
Sydneysider Stephanie Kyriacou is the reigning Rookie of the Year on the Ladies European Tour, following an impressive 2020 that included her breakthrough victory at the Australian Ladies Classic, two runner-up finishes and three additional top-five results.
The 20-year-old – based out of St Michael’s Golf Club – arrives in Sweden in terrific form, too, having shared 15th place in the Jabra Ladies Open at the Evian Resort last week and finishing T4th in the Ladies Italian Open the week prior. She should go well.
72-HOLE RECORD: Erik van Rooyen reached 19-under-par 261 when he won the Scandinavian Invitation in 2019. Mark Hensby and Henrik Stenson, meanwhile, shot 22-under in 2005, before Hensby won in extra holes.
PAST AUSSIE WINNERS: Adam Scott (2003) won this event when it was known as the Scandinavian Masters.
AUSTRALIANS IN THE FIELD: Maverick Antcliff, Scott Hend, Whitney Hillier, Stephanie Kyriacou, Jake McLeod and Jason Scrivener.
Round 1: Thursday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 9pm – 2am)
Round 2: Friday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 9pm – 2am)
Round 3: Saturday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 10pm – 3am)
Round 4: Sunday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 10pm – 3am)
*AEST, check local guides