All eyes are on Alex Noren as the in-form Swede looks to seal his third Nordea Masters title at Barsebäck Golf and Country Club.
The nine-time European Tour winner insists he is not the favourite to win this week, despite shooting up to fourth position on the Race to Dubai Rankings and eight on the Official World Golf Rankings after his stunning victory in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club.
A brilliant course-record 62 secured a two-stroke victory in the first of the Rolex Series events, as he recaptured the stunning form from last season when he won four tournaments in four months.
After winning the Nordea Masters in 2011 and 2015, Noren is aiming to take the title back from defending champion Matt Fitzpatrick.
The 22 year old Englishman is determined to hang on to the trophy following his victory at Bro Hof Slott Golf Club last year, but says he is an underdog this week, with the focus on home favourites Noren and The Open Tournament champion Henrik Stenson.
Fitzpatrick kick-started a stellar 2016 with victory in Sweden. He went on to make his debut in The Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National and sealed his third European Tour title with victory at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, on the way to a career-high sixth position on the Race to Dubai Rankings.
Alex Noren: “It’s good to be back and get my mind together after the hectic day at Wentworth on Sunday. I thought that I had messed up my chances to win, so on Sunday I didn’t have any kind of pressure and it felt much better. I just wanted to play good and then just see how far it could go. The feeling of not having any pressure at all is a little bit easier than going out in the leading group. It felt good to finish up the round with an eagle and that was enough to win.
“This is a whole new week, new greens, different weather, different type of course so it wouldn’t be true to myself if I said that I was a favourite but I feel positive.
“Stenson has a lot of achievements and if you look at the world ranking he is the one. Stenson is very good from tee to green and that is what it takes on Barsebäck especially if it’s windy. You have to know your irons so anything could happen.
“My goal is to play better on more difficult courses, I will try to work my schedule so I can play the more difficult courses in Europe and also mix them with USA. That’s my hopes going forward. Of course it would be great to win a Major and The Ryder Cup as well. To accomplish something that I didn’t think that I could gives me an extra kind of boost.”
Matt Fitzpatrick: “It’s great to come here as defending champion. Obviously it’s on a different course so it’s has a different feeling to it, but it’s a great feeling knowing that the trophy is technically still in your hands. I just need to go out there tomorrow and hopefully hold on to it.
“I don’t think it brings any extra pressure. People aren’t expecting me to win at the end of the day. People are expecting Alex Noren or Henrik Stenson to win, which is completely understandable. For me, as strange as it sounds, it just feels like a normal event.
“I went out on the course for the first time this morning. I have to admit it’s pretty difficult to get a feel for it today with how windy it is. I like the layout, I love the holes in the trees. Obviously it’s a little more open down by the sea. I’m sure it’s going to be a great week.
“The win last year gave me a ton of confidence. The big thing for me was that I hadn’t been playing very well in the lead up to it and then all of a sudden from not playing well to winning, it showed me how quickly the game can change.
“Obviously being able to do that gave me confidence for the rest of the season. If I was going to have a bad spell, I knew that it could turn any week, so yes, it really helped me.”