Gwladys Nocera has been the Ladies European Tour’s leading French player for a number of years having collected 12 trophies since 2006 and won the order of merit in 2008, but so far she has not played her best golf at the Evian Masters, now the Evian Championship.
The tournament means so much to her that she has tends to pile additional pressure on herself, as well everything that comes with being in the spotlight, but this year, she is changing her mentality.
“I have no expectations. I had expectations before and it didn’t work out well,” she says. “I wish one day that I can play this event and give myself all my chances to be as good as I can. I feel like I’ve always had trouble with something and this year I want to enjoy it and take it as a bonus and play in front of the French crowd because they want to see us play good shots. I want to enjoy it and have fun because I’ve got nothing to lose really. I take it as a bonus.”
So far this season, the 39-year-old from Moulins has posted six top 10 finishes from 14 starts in Ladies European Tour events, including second at the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open a fortnight ago. She arrives in Evian placed fourth on the current order of merit and third on the 2015 European Solheim Cup team standings.
“I feel really good. I feel tired, perhaps I should not have gone to Sweden. I feel physically tired so I’m trying to rest as much as I can but I’m feeling really good in my game and I hit the ball really well so now it’s a matter of putting everything together and doing it,” she said. “I have my family and quite a few friends here this year and people I don’t know but they’ve come to watch me and i’s special. I think we are very lucky and I feel privileged to be part of this thing. I guess it’s always when you feel like your career is almost over that you feel so lucky to be able to play in this kind of event. I want to take it as a bonus. I feel like I have a couple of years to go but then that will be it for me.”
Nocera admires the work that the organisers have done to make the Evian Championship such a top international sporting event and she says: “When I think about the Evian Championship I think about the Pro-Am that Franck (Riboud) started 20 years ago and how when you have a vision and a plan and goals and a dream, if you work enough and have good ideas you come up with something big, and today the Evian is a major, so I think about Evian and how proud we have to be to be able to play in such an event. We are pretty lucky to have such a big event in France and I am lucky enough to play in it.”