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Wolf shares lead to make history in Sweden

Wolf shares lead to make history in Sweden

Christine Wolf became the first woman to lead a European Tour event as she shared top spot on the leaderboard with Sam Horsfield after day one of the 2021 Scandinavian Mixed Hosted by Henrik & Annika.

Christine Wolf

History was made on the Race to Dubai at Vallda Golf and Country Club as a field of 78 men and 78 women teed off over the same course playing for one trophy and one prize fund of €1,000,000.

The men had dominated the first half of the day but in the afternoon Austrian Wolf came home in a blistering 30 to sign for a 64 and set the target at eight under.

Englishman Horsfield then birdied two of his last three holes to join her a shot ahead of countrymen Steven Brown and Ashley Chesters, Spaniard Pep Angles and Finn Kalle Samooja.

After a 12 month delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic and days of seeing the men and women on the range and practising together, the action did not disappoint when competitive shots were finally hit in the European Tour's first fully mixed strokeplay event.

Tournament hosts Henrik Stenson and Annika Sorenstam were playing together and they finished at two under and one over respectively, with playing partner and fellow Scandinavian great Thomas Bjørn also at one over.

Wolf, winner of the 2019 Hero Women's Indian Open on the Ladies European Tour, was bogey free with six birdies and an eagle, picking up four shots in her final four holes to take her place in the history books with her mum on the bag.

“We love competing against the guys, we’ve had a few mixed events at home," she said. "It’s just fun. At home there’s a lot of guys I play against, and I really like competing against them.”

She added: "I started quite well and birdied the first two par fives that came up and actually hit it quite close on some of the holes but didn’t make any putts on the front nine. Then all of a sudden, I hit it close and towards the end the putter got really hot. It was nice!

“I’ve been hitting it really well especially my drives, they’re down the middle. I know I can hit it really hard, and it will still stay straight. I’m trusting my game."

Horsfield claimed two wins on the UK Swing last season and while he then had a spell out with a back injury, he has not missed a beat since his return with two top fives and no missed cuts in his six events on the 2021 Race to Dubai.

It’s just fun. At home there’s a lot of guys I play against, and I really like competing against them

The 24-year-old birdied all four of the par fives over the Gothenburg layout on day one and felt that was the key to his success.

"It was just really solid," he said.

"I haven’t really been taking advantage of the par fives this year, so that was my main goal. I hit every fairway and played them in four under today. That gets you going - four under right there, toss in a couple more and it’s eight under."

He added: "It was definitely different but I really enjoyed it. (Alice Hewson) was really good, I think she made four birdies in a row on the back nine. I didn’t really know what to expect, to be completely honest with you. But she played really well and I had a great time."

Wolf found the green in two on the fourth and sixth to turn in 34 and then holed a 20 footer on the 11th and put an approach to tap-in range on the 12th.

She was still trailing at that point but after putting a tee shot to six feet on the 15th, she holed a 30 footer for eagle on the next and holed from similar range on the 17th to take the solo lead.

Horsfield made two smart putts on the second and third and then found the fourth green in two before giving a shot back on the next.

He took advantage of the par five sixth and put an approach to four feet at the seventh, before he again found the green in two at the tenth.

Another par five birdie on the 16th was then sandwiched by approaches to inside ten feet on the 12th and 17th.

Brown and Samooja were bogey free in their rounds, while Angles added an eagle and a bogey to six birdies and Chesters recorded nine birdies and two bogeys.

England's Felicity Johnson, Swedish amateur Vincent Norrman, Welshman Oliver Farr and South African Darren Fichardt were then at six under.

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