19 Feb 2020 | Professional golf |

Skarpnord heads Bonville field

by Contributor

Marianne Skarpnord image
Marianne Skarpnord is to defend her Bonville title this week. Photo: Getty

From ALPG

Defending champion, Norwegian star Marianne Skarpnord is yet to find her A-game so far in 2020 but remains confident that she can put up a strong defence of the title she won here at Bonville Golf Resort in 2019. The 37-year-old admitted that she has been less than happy with her game in recent weeks, but needs to be strong enough mentally to put that out of her mind this week at Bonville Golf Resort, a place where she can draw on the memories of her win last year. “Just driving back in the gates here at Bonville, a lot of really good memories started to hit me,” she said. “You don’t have to play perfect to contend or win,” she says. “In fact, you never do play perfect. If you did, you would hole your second shot every time. “It’s just a matter of making sure to remember that when you hit a bad shot, it’s not the end, there is always time for good shots. “Golf is never about what you did last week or last month and certainly not last year. It’s a whole new tournament week, and I have to prepare as I normally would.” Skarpnord admitted that there would be extra pressure on her shoulder as the defending champion this week, and says she has spoken with her sports psychologist about the extra demands this week. “He said you just have to ignore it,” she says. “And he’s right” “It’s just a matter of making sure to remember that when you hit a bad shot, it’s not the end, there is always time for good shots. “And that’s what I’ll be trying to do this week.” While Skarpnord will start as one of the favourites this week, she will need to be at her best against a high-class field which includes LPGA star Christina Kim, who is coming off two solid performances the past two weeks at the ISPS Handa Vic Open and the ISPS Handa Australian Open. Kim is always a crowd favourite and it would no surprise to see her name near the top of the leaderboard come Sunday. Of the Ladies European Tour players on show this week, German Esther Henseleit is no doubt a star of the future in the making. Henseleit became just the third player in LET history after Dame Laura Davies and Spanish star Carlota Ciganda to win both the LET Order of Merit and the Rookie of the Year title. In all seven of the top 10 and 16 of the top 20 from the 2019 LET Order of Merit will tee it up tomorrow, alongside full-time US LPGA Tour players Jillian Hollis, Lauren Stephenson, Maria Fassi and Katherine Perry.

However, the player to beat this week could well be 19-year-old Korean star Ayean Cho, who is the highest-ranked player in the field this week at 35 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings. Cho played in the final group in the final rounds at both the ISPS Handa Vic Open and the ISPS Handa Australian Open and is sure to have benefitted greatly from those experiences Of the Australian players in the file this week, Gold Coaster Robyn Choi, West Australian Whitney Hillier and New South Welshwoman Sarah Kemp look the most likely to contend this weekend. Play will get underway Thursday morning at 6:50 am AEDT at Bonville Golf Resort.

ROUND ONE DRAW

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