Maja Stark

Swedish star and current leader of the 2022 Race to Costa del Sol Maja Stark was pleased with her steady to start to this week’s AIG Women’s Open at Muirfield.

The 22-year-old carded a round of 68 (-3) which included four birdies and one bogey to leaver herself in a tie for fifth after the first day of competition.

Stark, who was in the third group out this morning, dealt with the early rainy conditions and then contended with the wind as it picked up later in the morning.

“It was very windy,” she said. “I feel like I was mentally prepared that it was going to be raining and nasty golf, which is not super fun, in the beginning. I think we got a little bit of a benefit because the wind wasn’t that strong when it was raining, so that might have made up for something.

“I like the course because you have to think on pretty much every tee shot. It’s tricky, but as long as you’re hitting the greens then you are kind of okay, but when you have 4-Irons into the greens then it’s not very easy to hit them. It’s fun and very challenging. I like that it’s a long course.”

Stark secured her fourth LET title in less than 12 months at the start of July winning the Amundi German Masters thanks to a birdie on the last.

But the Swede has struggled in recent weeks missing the cut at the Amundi Evian Championship and last week’s Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open.

However, after realising that she was overthinking on the course – especially with the putter – the four-time LET winner has a different mindset.

“I missed the feeling of playing well,” she continued. “These past couple of weeks I have just been trying too hard, I haven’t made many putts at all. It has been tough to not recognise myself when I’m playing.

“For example, on the greens, I would think the line is here but then I’d think what are the odds of me starting it on line and making the putt? Now, I feel like I don’t have to think that much, and we have practised it, so now I just go up and hit the putt instead of standing over it and walking around for so long.”

Another change for the past two weeks is the fact Stark now has 16-time LET winner Sophie Gustafson on the bag and the world number 68 is enjoying having the Swedish legend with her.  

She added: “It is fun having Sophie on the bag because she understands and when I get mad, she doesn’t take it personally. It’s good because I think we have pretty similar playing styles, we’re pretty aggressive and hit it kind of far.

“She keeps me a bit calm, even though I might not look it because I do get angry when I hit a bad shot, but it’s nice because she is always so calm. She doesn’t add onto the stress.”

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