Denmark’s Nicole Broch Larsen is currently second on the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit after claiming her maiden title at the Helsingborg Open in Sweden in early September and posting four additional top ten finishes on the LET this year, including second in the Czech Republic.
With two counting tournaments left to play in the race for the LET’s 2015 Order of Merit title, the 22-year-old from Hillerod is just €79,296 behind China’s Shanshan Feng, who is also making her debut in the €300,000 Sanya Ladies Open at Yalong Bay Golf Club, where the first prize is €45,000. We caught up with Nicole to find out what she thinks about the venue and what has led to her success this year.
Nicole: what are your first impressions of the golf course?
I played the front nine yesterday and it seems really good. On some holes you can take advantage if you hit it long, so that’s really nice. There’s a lot of wind, so that will make the course difficult, I think, but I like that. You have to play well to score well. Hopefully it will be fun.
How is your form?
Things are getting better. I’ve struggled a little bit with my swing the last couple of weeks but it’s on the way back and I feel more comfortable than a few weeks ago.
You are second on the OOM. How are you approaching the end of the season?
Shanshan is quite far in front of me so I have to have two good weeks. I’m ready to try and give it my best but I’ll just take this as one tournament as Dubai as another. Of course I’m thinking about the order of merit and it would be awesome to win it, but Shanshan is 79,000 in front of me, so it has to be two good weeks.
Would you like to play in the same group as Shanshan in Sanya?
It would be nice to have a man to man match. I played with Shanshan in Evian as well. She is a nice girl and fun to play with. Obviously she is a good player as well so it’s always nice to play with good players.
How do you explain the success of the Danish players this year?
I’m sure we inspire and motivate each other. Of course everyone wants to be the best Dane and I think that’s helped us to climb the leader board even if it’s not the best game we are playing. It’s been a good year for the Danish girls and it’s nice to have Nanna (Koerstz Madsen) and Malene (Jorgensen) and Emily (Kristine Pedersen) playing well as well. It’s really cool and good for Danish golf.
Is it effectively a race to the Olympic Games?
It is. There are only two spots and we are four players on the Ladies European Tour and Line Vedel on the LPGA, but she has been injured this year. If she comes back, she’s on the LPGA next year so she’ll be a good competitor as well. Everybody is in the mix and wants to go. I think it will be decided in July next year and nothing is decided until then.
Who is your coach and how has he helped you to improve?
David Dickmeiss is my coach and the coach of Daisy (Nielsen) and Emily (Kristine Pedersen) as well. He’s the coach of some of the guys on the Challenge Tour and upcoming stars on the national team as well.
He gets a lot of credit. He’s a really good coach, a good swing coach and he’s not a mental coach but he knows the game pretty well and knows us pretty well, so he can help a lot. I give him a lot of credit for my golf. I cannot talk for the other girls, but I’m pretty sure it’s the same.
David was caddying for me twice last year and he’s been in Sweden, Turkey and Holland with us this year and will go to Dubai this year. He’s connected to the DGU, the Danish Federation.
Do the Danish players practice together a lot?
Not really. Nanna and Emily are from Smoerum GK and I’m from Hillerod GK so we live half an hour from each other and practise together sometimes. Malene is from Odense in the middle of Denmark and Daisy if from Aalborg in the northern part, Jutland. David is in Jutland so when he’s in Copenhagen we meet and get together.
How did playing on the LET Access Series help you to prepare for life as a tour professional?
I played half a year in 2013 as an amateur on LET Access Series and then turned pro and played the other half the year. I think it was a good start, to start there and learn how to organise everything yourself. We were used to the Danish Federation doing everything for us. It was good to learn how the pro life was and going directly to the LET was really nice. Last year I travelled a lot with Malene and she showed me how it works out here.
This year has been really nice, I’ve grown a lot as a person and as a golf player and it seems like it’s going in the right steps for me.
Every week is a new opportunity for everybody but I think it’s just a matter of time for Nanna and Malene. I can see myself winning again hopefully and Emily can win again as well. It’s nice that we’re pushing each other and can be there for each other when another Dane gets a great result. We are like a little family and it’s nice.
How much of a sacrifice have you made to get to where you are now, in terms of time spent at the gym, seeing your family and other hobbies?
It takes a lot. We used to practise a lot as amateurs, in the gym, with our mental coach and on the range. I think we have grown up with a lot of practice and gym and we know that if we don’t do it, it will affect our game. That’s how I feel personally. If I don’t go to the gym I can feel it in my body if I travel a lot, so it’s very important for me and the other Danes as well. It’s nice that we can push each other on that side as well. If we are tired at least one of us will be ready to go and will take the other girls. When I’m home I love to see my family. The priority is definitely the gym as well.