This year there are four French players at the Evian Masters: Gwladys Nocera, Anne-Lise Caudal, Jade Schaeffer and Karine Icher… but will this be the year that a Frenchwoman wins the event for the first time?
Last year’s European No.1 Gwladys Nocera certainly hopes so, since this is one of her favourite tournaments.
The 10-time LET champion is also sponsored by the event’s presenting sponsor, Société Générale, as well as Lacoste, the clothing company which also plays an important role at the event.
Nocera is playing at the event for the fifth time and she said in a press conference: “I’m pretty proud of being able to play here. I guess I earned my spot, so I should be happy and proud, and I am.
“It’s fun to be here. It’s, as always, very well organised and everything is running really smoothly. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Nocera’s best finish in four years at the tournament was equal 41st at the 2006 edition, but she added: “My hopes are always really high, and I didn’t succeed really well actually. So I’m hoping for better this year. I think I want to try to enjoy the tournament and not put pressure on myself.
“You know, my biggest opponent at this tournament is myself, so I just have to play the way I know I can play, enjoy. This is one of the most beautiful places in the world. It will be too bad to not enjoy that.”
The 34-year-old, who now lives in nearby Geneva, will play in a strong group at 11.11am on Thursday with Americans Cristie Kerr and Michelle Wie, but said it brought no additional pressure.
“I know both of them, and they’re both nice. I think it’s a good group. They hit the ball really strong, and that’s good for me to push me to play offensive. So I’m pretty happy I’m playing with them,” she said.
Currently ranked sixth on the LET’s Henderson Money List, she added that she felt in good form.
“I’ve been hitting the ball really well, probably better than last year, yet I’m not scoring really good score,” she said.
“Last year I guess I was very concentrated on my goal to win the order of merit, and that’s all that mattered. This year it’s different. I want to do good during the majors, and doing good means enjoy each shot and do my best.
She was pleased to see the additional grass bunker on the 18th fairway, because it will provide a greater challenge.
“For me it’s good, because I can aim to that grass bunker and draw the ball. Today and yesterday I reached the green in two, so it’s good for the confidence,” she said. “It’s more challenging. You have to think about the drive and then the second shot, so it’s good. I think it’s a good option. I think we might have more drama on this hole than the years before.”
The first round of the Evian Masters will begin at 7am on Thursday, with England’s Rebecca Hudson hitting the first ball.