Major talent: Anna Nordqvist

(MADRID – Tuesday 29th September 2009) — This week’s Madrid Ladies Masters has received a major boost with the inclusion of LPGA champion and Solheim Cup player Anna Nordqvist.

The 22-year-old Swede will tee up at Casino Club de Golf Retamares for the three-round event, which starts on Thursday and ends on Saturday afternoon.

Despite her Major win at the McDonald’s LPGA Championship Presented by Coca-Cola and having been a Solheim Cup player, Nordqvist has never won an event in Europe, bar the Qualifying School at La Manga Club in Spain in January.

She will be hoping to change that this week and consolidate her position as the Ladies European Tour’s leading rookie.

“I aim to prepare myself the best I can, go out there and enjoy myself and hopefully make it a good week,” she said. “I feel good about my game. I am working hard at it and that is all I can do. There are so many good players at the European Tour so you really have to play well in order to win.

“I think my chances are as good as anyone else’s. You can’t control winning, so you just have to go out there and do the best you can and then you’ll see where you stand at the end of the day.”

Nordqvist’s brother Matthias, who has played on the Swedish National Team for the past two years, is making a one-time appearance as her caddie.

“Just being at home for some time and getting to see some friends on the European Tour will be great. My brother is coming with me so I get to spend some time with him,” she added.

Nordqvist currently leads the race for Europe’s Ryder Cup Wales Rookie of the Year Award with earnings of €59,571.74 from just four events and is €5876 clear of England’s Florentyna Parker, who has played in 14 tournaments and is also in Madrid.

Last year’s runner-up Paula Marti of Spain

The Swede, who also plans to play at the LET’s season-ending tournament, the Dubai Ladies Masters, added: “Obviously I am in a good position now, but there are a lot of tournaments left and there are a lot of good rookies this year so I think it will be tight race.”

This week Nordqvist will face the challenge of three other European Solheim Cup players in last week’s runner-up Becky Brewerton from Wales, Italian Diana Luna and Spain’s Tania Elosegui.

They join six more of this year’s Ladies European Tour champions, with last week’s Tenerife Open winner Felicity Johnson, Linda Wessberg, Jade Schaeffer, Beatriz Recari, Nicole Gergely and Johanna Westerberg, playing in her last event before the birth of her first child due in January.

Spain’s Paula Martí, who has not won since 2001, finished second in the event last year, four shots behind Frenchwoman Gwladys Nocera. She is looking to go one better on home soil.

“My game is not at its best but the Madrid Ladies Masters motivates me, it is a dream, and I feel very proud to have an event like this in Spain,” said Martí, via translation. “The Madrid public is magnificent and we have the support of the Community of Madrid, which is most important, along with all of the sponsors. We know that the Retamares course is going to be in great condition, with fast greens which will be great for this competition.”

The third edition of the Madrid Ladies Masters, a 54-hole stroke play tournament with a prize fund of €200,000, features 40 professionals and two amateurs. There will be no cut and the winner will take home €50,000. The par-73 Retamares course will be set up at 6319 yards for the tournament. First round action will start at 10.30am on Thursday, with the final putt expected to be holed at approximately 2.30pm local time on Saturday afternoon.