World Golf Number Two Henrik Stenson from Sweden (pictured by Getty Images) and his fellow-countryman Jonas Blixt will lead the host nation challenge at this week’s 2014 Nordea Masters Golf Tournament, which for the first time will be played at PGA Sweden National.
Both golfers have come close to winning this week’s €1.5million golf tournament in the past, with Blixt finishing runner-up behind Mikko Ilonen of Finland one year ago 12 months ago.
Stenson lost out in a play-off to Australia’s Mark Hensby in 2005, one year after sharing second place with his fellow Swede Peter Hanson.
Stenson was granted Honorary Lifetime Membership of the PGA Sweden National at the start of the year, and so should feel right at home on the Lake Course this week.
30 year old Blixt is currently in a rich vein of form, having followed up his tied second finish in the Masters Tournament with a joint 16th finish at Wentworth Club last week.
Blixt, is edging closer to securing a 2014 Ryder Cup debut at the Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland, in September, and will again hope to catch the eye of Europe’s Captain Paul McGinley with yet another notable performance.
Runaway 2014 Race to Dubai leader Thomas Björn, who finished in a tie for fourth place in last year’s Nordea Masters, will hope to rebound from the disappointment of letting slip a five shot lead at The Wentworth Club last week.
Despite finishing in a tie for fourth place behind Rory McIlroy, the great Dane still leads The Race to Dubai 2014 with season’s earnings of €1,470,194, and has virtually guaranteed himself a first appearance in The Ryder Cup for 12 years.
Defending champion Ilonen will be bidding for a third Nordea Masters title, having first triumphed in 2007 before repeating the feat last year.
Ilonen, who is currently 26th in The Race to Dubai, will be defending his title over a different course from the one he triumphed on last May, but the Finn remains hopeful of joining Colin Scotland’s Montgomerie and Englishman Lee Westwood in the exclusive club of players who have won the tournament three times.
Other notable names in the field include Robert Karlsson, who made his 500th European Tour appearance at Wentworth last week.
Karlsson will bid to become the seventh Swede to win the tournament, following Jesper Parnevik (1995 and 1998), Joakim Haeggman (1997), Peter Hanson (2008), Richard S Johnson (2010) and Alex Noren (2011).
PGA Sweden National becomes the seventh different course to host the tournament since the inaugural event in 1991. Designed by Kyle Phillips, the Lake Course measures 7,390 yards.
Source: European Tour