Caldwell pumped for Scandinavian Mixed defence

Jonathan Caldwell first reached the then European Tour via Q-School in 2008 before spending 14 uncertain years bouncing between the big time and the mini-tours. There was even a spell working in a local golf shop as he battled to keep the dream alive.

It’s no wonder then that the now 37-year-old Northern Irishman was more than a little emotional after capturing his maiden DP World Tour title at the inaugural Volvo Car Scandinavian Mixed hosted by Henrik and Annika 12 months ago.

Telling, also, was one of the unforgettable moments he pin-pointed in the immediate aftermath of victory.

“I got a fist pump from Annika [Sörenstam] when I came off 18 which is pretty incredible – probably the greatest ever ladies golfer so that was pretty special,” Caldwell said.

“It’s been a tremendous week, I think what they’ve done is fantastic and I hope we have more weeks like this. The golf course was fantastic and I played with some great girls this week.”

Fast-forward to the second edition of the DP World Tour’s first mixed-gender event starting June 9 and a few details have changed 12 months on. The switch from Vallda Golf & Country Club in Gothenburg to storied Halmstad Golf Club in Tylösand is the most obvious, while the players will be buoyed also by a doubling of the purse to  €2 million.

What hasn’t changed is the unique and welcomed format – 78 DP World Tour players and 78 Ladies European Tour (LET) players competing on the same course for the same trophy.

Caldwell is back to defend and can expect the “girls” to be just as dangerous as they were last June. Austria’s Christine Wolf led the inaugural event after the first round before home favourite Caroline Hedwall emerged the halfway pace-setter. Hedwall was then joined by England’s Alice Hewson as joint 54-hole leaders alongside Welshman Rhys Enoch and Australian Jason Scrivener with Hewson going on to finish third.

Hewson needed an eagle up the last to force a playoff with fast-finishing Caldwell but could manage only a par to finish third behind Dubai’s Adrian Otaegui. 

“This has been an exceptional opportunity for women’s golf as a whole. For us to be on this kind of stage and to prove to everyone how good women’s golf actually is has been such a great opportunity,” said Hewson.

“I’ve been so happy to be a part of it, really grateful to both Annika and Henrik for putting this on for us and just so happy to have been a part of this first one.”

Part of the second edition are Swedish favourites Alex Noren, Linn Grant and Ingrid Lindblad.

As a 10-time DP World Tour winner, Noren’s debut in the event hosted by icon Sörenstam and Ryder Cup captain Henrik Stenson is eye-catching.

He’ll return to Sweden for the first time since 2019 and has twice won on home fairways.

“I have so many wonderful memories from playing in Sweden over the years and I’m excited to play in front of home fans once again,” said Noren. “Halmstad is a fantastic golf course for the Volvo Car Scandinavian Mixed, Henrik and Annika are amazing tournament hosts, and the fact that men and women are competing against each other adds another dimension to an already exciting event. It’s going to be a great week.”

Grant, who is currently second in the Race to Costa del Sol – the Ladies European Tour’s season-long Rankings – claimed a five-shot victory at the Joburg Ladies Open in just her first start on the LET as a full member in March.

The win was her third inside a month on the Sunshine Ladies Tour, having already tasted success at the Dimension Data Ladies Challenge and Jabra Ladies Classic in February, and now the 22-year-old from Helsingborg is looking forward to her first event on home soil as a professional.

“I’m really excited to be playing as a professional in the Volvo Car Scandinavian Mixed at Halmstad after a great experience at Vallda Golf and Country Club when I finished tied 18th in the tournament as an amateur, said Grant. 

“I loved testing my game in a mixed gender field and now, as an LET winner, it will be even more exciting to compete against the other women and the men from both tours for this high-profile prize.”

Lindblad, who hails from Halmstad and is currently second in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Rankings, plays collegiate golf for Louisiana State University and recently won their individual and team events at the Southeastern Conference Women’s Golf Championship after a second-place finish at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship.

“To have Henrik and Annika bring this mixed tournament to my hometown is unreal, I can’t wait to play in front of family and friends, and just enjoy being back home in Sweden playing golf.

“It’s going to have a great atmosphere and I’m looking forward to using a bit of local knowledge to hopefully help me on my way during the week.”

The famous North Course at Halmstad will host the DP World Tour for the first time but played host to some of golf’s biggest events. In addition to European Challenge Tour, LET and most recently the 2017 ANNIKA Invitational European (an amateur event), the course in Tylösand was home to the 10th Solheim Cup in 2007. Sörenstam contributed 2.5 points for Team Europe in a 12-16 loss to Team USA. 

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