Caroline Hedwall starts her bid for a fourth Ladies European Tour victory at the Lacoste Ladies Open de France tomorrow after enjoying one of the biggest weeks of her career in Ireland.
The 22-year-old Swede is still on a high after making her Solheim Cup debut at Killeen Castle and helping Alison Nicholas’s European team to its first victory since 2003.
But as the Ladies European Tour season comes towards the end of its swing through Europe, Hedwall is determined to make up ground on the current Henderson Money List leader Ai Miyazato at Paris International Golf Club and her thoughts are already on representing Europe again at The 2013 Solheim Cup in Colorado.
“I am inspired by last week and I just want to play well this week to get points for the next Solheim Cup. It was just so much fun,” said the rookie professional. “My game feels good and if I can play well, hopefully I can lift the trophy here.”
Hedwall’s twin sister Jacqueline, who acted as her caddie in Ireland, is now back studying Sports Administration at Louisiana State University and has handed the bag over to their mother Yvonne this week.
“I won in Austria without my sister but she has been a great help and my mum is back this week on the bag. I won with her in Slovakia. I think I can do well this week too. I like it. It’s a good golf course. The front nine is pretty straight forward but the back nine is pretty tricky, but I like that: it’s a challenge,” she said.
Hedwall has kept her feet on the ground despite her success on Tour this year with victories in Slovakia, Finland and Austria and she explained that she just loves the process of winning, rather than the outcome.
“I’m never going to feel like a star. I just enjoy playing golf,” she said. “Afterwards I have an empty feeling, because everything is just over. I enjoy the part where I’m hitting my last shot on 18 and when I have to perform under pressure. That’s what I think is the most fun part of playing golf and competing. Afterwards, I’m like, the fun is over.”
Hedwall is joined by her Solheim Cup teammate Laura Davies in France, as well as United States team representative Christina Kim.
Of the French players in the field, Jade Schaeffer will be among the favourites following her second LET victory in Prague three weeks ago. Gwladys Nocera, Sophie Giquel and Virginie Lagoutte-Clement are also among the 19 French players in the field of 108 hoping to be the first home winner since Stephanie Arricau in 2004.
Nocera, the European No.1 in 2008 who made three appearances at The Solheim Cup, has returned from her base in America to compete for her national title.
This was the first year since 1996 that there was no French representative on The European Solheim Cup team and the pressure will be on Nocera to redress the balance after collecting 10 titles on the LET from 2006-2008.