Eight-time Solheim Cup player Sophie Gustafson will be one of the star names in this week’s ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters at Buckinghamshire Golf Club from July 26-28.
The popular Swede, a Life Member of the LET who has won the order of merit four times – in 2000, 2003, 2007 and 2009 – will be playing in Europe for the first time this season and sees it as the perfect way to prepare for the season’s fourth Major, which will be staged at St Andrews the week after the Buckinghamshire.
“I always enjoy coming back playing a few events on the LET,” said Gustafson, who has amassed 26 titles worldwide over a 19-year career.
“The ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters fits into my schedule nicely. I've had three weeks off at home and it will be great to get back into the swing of things before heading up to St Andrews.
“I've heard nothing but great things about the Buckinghamshire course so I'm very much looking forward to playing it Wednesday.
“I've been working on my game the last three weeks at home but you never really know what's going to show up once you get there.”
Gustafson, who won the Women’s British Open in 2000 at Royal Birkdale, the year before it became a Major, knows a thing or two about the links game and says that despite a dip in form, she is particularly relishing the challenge of the Old Course.
“I absolutely love coming to the British Isles and playing links golf: doesn't get much better as far as I'm concerned,” she says.
Gustafson has played in the last eight editions of The Solheim Cup, earning a perfect 4-0-0 win-lose- draw record, at Killeen Castle in Ireland. She has been on three of Europe’s four winning teams.
When asked how keen she is to make a ninth Cup appearance by playing on Captain Liselotte Neumann’s European team next month in Colorado, she said: “Extremely, but I'm also very realistic. I need to start playing very, very well, to even be considered. I have two more events to impress Lotta. If I can get something good going so she sees that I'm on my way up, I'll at least give her something to think about.”
Both the European and United States Solheim Cup teams will be named on 4 August and Gustafson continued: “I only want to make the team if I'm playing well. I’ve got no interest showing up not playing well. I want us to win. For that, we need our best team. If that doesn't include me, so be it. I'll be there one way or another to make sure we have the best chance to beat the yanks.”
A season ticket to see Gustafson, Karrie Webb and many of The Ladies European Tour’s biggest stars play at the ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters can be bought for £10 in advance of the tournament, with pre-registration online at ladieseuropeantour.com before midnight on Wednesday 24th July.
Under-16s accompanied by an adult, PGA professionals and those with a blue disability badge are admitted free of charge and all car parking is also free.