Gwladys Nocera will be hoping that her passion for India transpires into her first victory for three years as she competes in this week’s Hero Women’s Indian Open in New Delhi, starting on Friday.
The 36-year-old Frenchwoman is making her first appearance in India for four years following her victory at the LET’s 2007 EMAAR-MGF Indian Ladies Masters in Bangalore.
“I really like this country. There are so many different things to see and it puts everything back into perspective. I think it’s good to be here and it’s so nice of them to organise a tournament for us. We are lucky to be here and to play golf,” said the former European number one.
Nocera hasn’t played competitively for two months, since tying for third at the Sicilian Ladies Italian Open, but feels refreshed after taking a break at home in Switzerland.
“I spent two months at home which was amazing, because it hasn’t happened for so long. I just took a good break and no golf and then went to practice so I feel good and I’m excited about playing golf in the tournament,” she said.
Nocera won 10 tournament titles between 2006 and 2008, when she also topped the LET’s season-ending money list. She spent the last two seasons in the United States with a career best finish of second at the CVS/Pharmacy LPGA Challenge in 2009, but has struggled this year and decided to play almost exclusively in Europe from now on.
“I had a really bad season and I didn’t enjoy myself in the US. I’m glad I’m back on the European Tour, my tour, I just want to enjoy these two weeks, enjoy it, play my best and we’ll see,” she said.
Looking to draw on memories of her Indian victory, she continued: “It feels good because I came here in 2007 and I have some good memories. I haven’t played a tournament in two months and I feel a little bit rusty from not playing but I feel good in my shoes. If I play my best, I’ll have a chance.”
She has been working on her backswing with Australian coach Ian Triggs and feels that sticking to one tour will enhance her prospects of a return to the winner’s podium in 2012.
“I might play the first two events in the US in Phoenix and in San Diego but after that I will play in Europe. This year was really hard and I travelled too much,” she admitted.
“I think you have to decide whether to play in Europe or play in the US and stick to it. I tried to play on both and it was too difficult: only Laura (Davies) can do it. I want to win again and I want to enjoy myself: I want to lift a cup and smile on 18.”
The majestic water-lined 18th green at DLF Golf and Country Club would certainly provide a fitting backdrop for a return to glory, but Davies will not want to relinquish the title she earned in such dramatic style 12 months ago.
The Englishwoman came from three shots back going into the final round and eagled the last in regulation play to make a four-way sudden-death play-off against Tandi Cuningham, Nontaya Srisawang and Louise Friberg. Then, after Nontaya made par and Cuningham and Friberg hit their balls into the water, Davies sealed her 79th worldwide victory with a birdie on the 468-yard par-five hole.