With the US Open coming up fast, the best of the European Tour are either taking time off or hitting the links to sharpen their craft before the second Major of the year.
Those on the lee side of the pond will do so at Sweden’s Nordea Masters starting Thursday, where local resident Thomas Bjorn – originally from Denmark – is one of the favorites.
“I’m in a good position because I get support from both sides,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of friends coming down from Gothenburg to support me and then I’ve got the Danish people coming over too,” the 44-year-old Bjorn said Wednesday while meeting with the media.
The PGA Sweden National Links Course is the site of this weekend’s tournament. It is known for large undulating greens and lots of small, deep bunkers, with the greens built on a bed of sand to resemble the soft sand dunes of a typical Scottish links course.
The most well-known player in the field is the one who has yet to play a single round in continental Europe this season. No. 4 Henrik Stenson is playing in his first European Tour-only event since Dubai in early February, and slipped a notch behind Bubba Watson in the Top 10 last week.
He’s in a tidy threesome to start the tournament, paired alongside defending champion Thongchai Jaidee and Irish Open champ Soren Kjeldsen.
Other great first-round pairings are Finland’s Mikko Ilonen, a two-time champion here, along with Spanish Open winner James Morrison and Thailand up-and-comer and Scrabble triple-word score Kiradech Aphibarnrat.