Injury is part and parcel of life as a professional athlete and returning can feel like a victory, that is certainly the case for Julia Engström. 

The Swede had a scintillating start to life on Tour when she won the LET’s Rookie of the Year in 2018 at the age of just 17. 

Four top-10 finishes the following year including third at the 2019 Magical Kenya Ladies Open saw her star rise further and in 2020, she recorded her breakthrough victory at the Women’s NSW Open. 

A few months later, Engström was in the winner’s circle again at the Lacoste Ladies Open but struggled with a back injury at the end of the year pulling out of the final event. 

Despite this, the 2017 PING Junior Solheim Cup player finished still second in the 2020 Race to Costa del Sol with three further top-10 finishes that season. 

“I had two slipped discs in my back which made my legs numb and the nerves were stuck, so it was a long journey back and I’m glad to be back,” she said. 

“I didn’t have surgery so it was so frustrating just waiting it out and just hoping that it would get better so I could play again, and I just had to try to get back to my best.” 

In her time away from the sport, Engström made sure she kept herself busy once she realised, she would have to go longer not playing golf. 

“At the beginning I didn’t do a lot, I did a lot of rehab to try and get back playing golf, but then I realised I couldn’t,” she explained. 

“So, I did some studies as well at university and tried to give myself something to do because otherwise I’d go crazy! I was helping out at my local golf club as well.

“Plus, I got to spend time with family and friends that I hadn’t seen as much in the previous years and because Sweden didn’t have lockdowns it meant I was able to do most things as normal.”

After clinching two victories on the LET, you could argue the 20-year-old would immediately want to get back to her best. 

But coming back on Tour was the main goal and the Swede is being realistic with her expectations ahead of her return. 

“Right now, my main focus is just to go out there and get going, and hopefully I can pick up from where I left off,” she continued. 

“My main goal before was to just get back here, so now I am I’m happy to be here. The goal is always to play good, but you have to be realistic and realise it’s not going to happen straight away. Obviously, I hope I do but it’s all about getting back into it.

“I had quite a bit of pain in the last tournament I played in Saudi in 2020 but I don’t think I will again. It’s still in the back of your head but I’m just trying not to focus on that and keep hitting my shots and play my best.

“At the beginning I was rusty, as I hadn’t had a swing in so long, but it got better with time. I did some swing changes as well, so I’ve basically started from zero.”

At the last edition of the Magical Kenya Ladies Open, Engström led after three rounds and ended up finishing in third place. 

But the two-time LET winner believes the disappointment of not securing victory made her stronger and she is pleased to be back at Vipingo Ridge. 

She added: “It was a learning experience last time, I got back home and evaluated it but then had to put it behind me and tried to move forward and ended up winning twice the season after. 

“It’s great to be back, the course is great but it’s a bit more windy this year so that will be a challenge for us all. I’m excited to be back!”

Follow all the action on @letgolf on Instagram and Twitter and Ladies European Tour on Facebook – #RaiseOurGame #MKLO2022.