Norway’s Skarpnord hoping for home glory

Marianne Skarpnord heads home to Norway for this week’s SAS Ladies Masters. She is hoping to follow in the footsteps of her compatriot Suzann Pettersen, who last year won the tournament at Losby Golf Club

Marianne Skarpnord heads home to Norway for this week s 200,000 SAS Ladies Masters at Haga Golf in Oslo, from August 22-24.

With Pettersen not defending her title, the 22-year-old Skarpnord is the highest ranked Norwegian player in the field at 12th on the New Star money list.

Skarpnord finished second to Pettersen at the AIB Ladies Irish Open six weeks ago and the fourth year tour player has an excellent opportunity to capture her maiden Ladies European Tour title on home soil.

When she tees off on Friday, Skarpnord will be one of the few competitors in the 116 player field to have played on the tournament course, which has been closed for practise all week due to flooding. She and her boyfriend come caddie Petter Enger know the course well as he used to work in the pro shop. Although Skarpnord lives one hour and 15 minutes drive away in the town of Sarpsborg, she is staying at Enger s home this week, which is just a stone s throw away from the first tee.

Skarpnord would love to win the 30,000 first prize but many of the Ladies European Tour s elite contingent has also headed north including the two-time former tournament champion Laura Davies of England and Frenchwoman Gwladys Nocera.

I m playing with Laura and Gwladys for the first time and I think a lot of people are going to come to watch, enthused Skarpnord, adding: I hope to win but I will do my best over three rounds and count up on Sunday.

A final round of 79 at last week s S4C Wales Ladies Championship of Europe scuppered Davies s title chances but the 69-time tournament winner will take confidence from the fact that she has secured two victories in Norway, in 2002 and 2006.

She has adjusted her schedule to accommodate this week s SAS Masters and said: As a previous winner in Norway I have fantastic memories of the country. People there looked after me so brilliantly and I am looking forward to seeing everyone again and hopefully getting another win under my belt.

Nocera, ranked second on the New Star Money List, is looking to make up ground on the leader Helen Alfredsson with a strong finish in Norway. Germany s Martina Eberl, who was second last week, is also in the field.

Large crowds are expected at Haga Golf with it being located only 12 minutes from Oslo city centre, between the Griniveien and Bærumsmarka forest.

This is the first time that the SAS Masters has been played at the par 72, 6179 yard Haga Golf, following visits to Bogstad Golf Club and Losby Golf Club.

Home support will also be enjoyed by Losby Golf Club s Lill Kristin Saether, who will be looking to build on her joint second place in the recent Scandinavian TPC hosted by Annika. In all there are 10 Norwegian players at the SAS Ladies Masters, including four professionals and six amateurs.

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