(Kokkedal GC, Denmark – September 1st, 2005) – England’s Lora Fairclough carded a blistering seven under par 65 to lead after the first round of the Nykredit masters at Kokkedal GC near Copenhagen, in Denmark.
|Cecilia Ekelundh – two shots behind|
“When we were kids and we started to play we just used to try and get the ball down the hole. We didn’t think about anything else because you don’t. That’s what it’s all about.”
According to Fairclough, European Tour professionals Paul McGinley and Jonathan Lomas also give the teaching method their seal of approval.
With four top twenty finishes this season and a tied for second place at the 2005 OTP Bank Central European Open in July, it’s a method which seems to be working for the Lancashire woman.
But hot on her heels this week is Sweden’s Cecilia Ekelundh, the Algarve Ladies Open of Portugal Champion.
Ekelundh, 26, from Solvesborg set off from the 10th and was five under after nine holes with birdies at the 10th, 11th, 13th, 14th and 15th holes this morning, to reach the turn in 31.
She then reached six under par after a birdie on six, but dropped a shot at the eighth to move back to five under par for the day.
She is still reeling after last week’s tournament in Finland, where she just missed out on a place in The 2005 European Solheim Cup team.
Had she won the tournament, she could have claimed the final automatic qualifying spot, bumping out the French Solheim Cup rookie Gwladys Nocera.
She was one shot off the lead going into the final round, when play was cancelled after 36 holes due to extreme weather conditions at Helsinki GC. The title eventually went to Lisa Holm Sorensen of Denmark, a rookie on the LET, who was leading the tournament after the second round.
“I was absolutely devastated when the tournament got rained out,” said Ekelundh.
“You could say that was the worst day of my career so far, being so close and yet so far to a place in The Solheim Cup. When they cancelled it, I really felt as though my legs had been cut off.
“I had been playing very solid and I felt I had a good chance. I’d had it in my mind all Saturday night and then Sunday morning and I was so anxious to play, I just wanted to get out there.
“I just don’t know if that will be the closest I’ll ever get to playing in The Solheim. But I’m very happy for Gwladys. I think she deserves it as she’s missed out this year a few times already.”
Ekelundh is currently tied for fourth place with Ursula Wikstrom of Finland in the inaugural “Volvo Cross Country Challenge” Order-of-Merit (VXCC) with 156.67 points. A victory this week would earn her 300 points and would also take her to the top of the VXCC leader board.
Winning the VXCC would earn her an extra bonus prize of US$25,000, which is just over €20,000 on top of the €30,000 prize winners’ cheque, as well as a car courtesy of Volvo cars Nordic.
“Like with Solheim, it’s a great incentive, but it’s not the reason I’m playing this week. I’m here to win, and everything else comes secondary to that,” she said.