The European Challenge Tour’s return to Norway for this week’s Lexus Open coincides with the arrival of summer time in Northern Europe, and Norwegian Morten Hagen is hoping that home advantage, and the benefit of some glorious Scandinavian summer weather can spark a reversal in his golfing fortunes.
Hagen, who won the Telia Challenge Waxholm in neighbouring Sweden last season, has had, by his own admission, a “terrible” start to the year 2006, but he is optimistic about the week ahead at the Larvik Golf Club.
The Lexus Open represents a great opportunity for the Challenge Tour players who do not qualify for the dual ranking Aa St Omer Open to climb the Rankings. Hagen could have played in St Omer, but along with his countryman, Jan-Are Larsen, has decided to support Norwegian golf by teeing up in the Lexus Open.
“It will be great to play at home, and it really is home for me because I live 20 minutes from Larvik, so I’ll be able to stay in my own house, which doesn’t happen too often when you play golf for a living,” said Hagen.
“Larvik is a very good golf course and the officials this week will have the choice to set it up very tough if they choose to do so. It’s going to be a great week
“Hopefully I can get my season going there. I have been terrible this year so far, to be honest, but I found something in my swing during the back nine in Denmark last week, so I can take some confidence from that.”
Norway, like Sweden and Denmark, endures a long, dark winter where daylight is a rarity, but it all changes in the summer when darkness falls only for a few hours. According to Hagen, the extended daylight hours signals a change in Norway’s national psyche.
“It can get quite depressing at home during the winter,” said Hagen. “But the summer has finally arrived and everyone is a lot happier. Norway is a fantastic country in the summer time and the atmosphere is totally different. You can play golf for 24 hours in the North of Norway which people do sometimes. They play four rounds in one day which is a little crazy but it’s nice that you can do it!”
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