Finland’s Minea Blomqvist has a good feeling heading into this week’s Finnair Masters. Not only is she playing well, but she knows the course intimately, having played at Helsinki Golf Club close to 50 times.
She is the media darling and always attracts a vociferous gallery of spectators at the tournament, which began in 2005 on the Ladies European Tour.
“The Finnair Masters gives me lots of energy to do well so I hope I’m in contention on Sunday and of course an Evian spot would be great,” Blomqvist said. “Putting is always the key: to make putts.”
The 26-year-old Finn claimed her second Ladies European Tour victory at the 2008 tournament after a thrilling final round battle with compatriot Ursula Wikstrom. She was third in 2009 and tied for 18th in 2010 after the arrival of her first child, Elmo, a son, born on 31st March.
Blomqvist said that the unexpected lifestyle changes did not affect her game. She was struggling prior to falling pregnant but after hiring a new swing coach recently, the work is now paying off.
She finished second at the UniCredit Ladies German Open presented by Audi in Munich in May and was in contention at the halfway stage of last week’s Wegmans LPGA Championship, the second women’s major of the year.
After opening with successive rounds of three under par 69, she carded 77 and 78 over the weekend to drop down to joint 68th position, but she said: “I’m working on things that will take me forward with my game.
“I like my coach, Kevin Smeltz. I love working with my coaches Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott and I love working with my fitness coaches Terhi Beilinson and Kai Fusser.
“I have a full time nanny so I pretty much kept on doing this like I used to. We have a great support group behind, so Elmo has lots of loving people to take care of him. There are two options: either quit or play fully committed – and I have big dreams to get better as a player.”
Blomqvist and her boyfriend, European Tour player Roope Kakko, will marry on New Year’s Eve and she added: “I’m so excited about it. I found my dress a few weeks ago. It’s a big thing for me. It’s so beautiful a celebration and especially when we have been 10 years together and have been blessed with a little boy. I feel very happy to have a son and loving future husband.”
Kakko will skip the early part of the Finnair Masters week to have Achilles surgery on Wednesday, but Elmo will be around with family and friends.
His name has sporting origins. “In Finland we have a sport book that’s called Elmo,” Blomqvist said. “He’s a sport person. He wins everything. Even in hundred meters he falls, but he still wins. It’s kind of like a magical book when you are a big sport hero. My boyfriend loves sport, and we follow ice hockey, so we thought that’s a great name for my son.”
When she found out about the Sesame Street character, she bought as many Elmo toys as she could find in America. “I spent thousands of Euros to buy all the Elmo stuff.”
The cartoon credentials go further as, since Elmo’s birthday was the same as Donald Duck’s (as evidenced by his licence plate number, 313), Blomqvist gave the boy a middle name of ‘Aku’, Finnish for Donald Duck.
Her nickname, ‘Minni’, is like Minnie Mouse, while Roope is the Finnish name for Donald Duck’s Uncle Scrooge.
Donald Duck’s girlfriend is called Daisy and if Blomqvist has a daughter, she said that she will name her Iines, the Finnish equivalent.
With her child-like optimism and infectious giggle, Blomqvist is capable of having fun on and off the golf course.
As a 19-year-old in 2004, she claimed her first LET title in Hungary before shooting 62 in the third round of the Women’s British Open at Sunningdale for the lowest score ever registered in a major.
She has five international victories including one on the Swedish Telia Tour and two on the former South African Nedbank Women’s Golf Tour. Her career best finish on the LPGA is a tie for third at the 2008 Safeway International presented by Coca-Cola.