World number four Henrik Stenson believes he is finally fit and healthy as he targets a first European Tour title on home soil to kickstart a strong second half of the season.
Stenson has struggled with numerous illnesses this year but will be hoping to reproduce his late-season form of 2013, when he was second in the Open and third in the US PGA Championship on his way to becoming the first player to win the Race to Dubai and FedEx Cup in the same year.
"I got sick which set me back for about six weeks," Ryder Cup star Stenson told a pre-tournament press conference ahead of the Nordea Masters.
‘Few good weeks’
“First I had proper man-flu which was horrible, then I got a vomiting bug that the kids had when we were at Augusta, so I came off one bad thing and straight into another one, then I had back-to-back colds.
“At that point I felt like if anyone sneezed within 500 yards of me I was getting it because my immune system was so low and broken down. But I’ve recovered and had a few good weeks in the gym, so I’m feeling healthy, but I’m playing catch-up which is hard in the middle of the season. I’ll do the best I can and hopefully have a good second half of the year.”
Stenson was fifth at PGA Sweden National last year, narrowly missing out on the play-off between eventual winner Thongchai Jaidee and Ryder Cup team-mates Victor Dubuisson and Stephen Gallacher.
“It’s great to come back,” the 39-year-old added. “I really received a warm welcome last year, there was so much support for me and all the other Swedish players.
“I didn’t have my best finish and ran out of steam a bit on the Sunday. I still had a chance on the 18th and needed to make a birdie to be in the play-off, but that didn’t happen. Hopefully I can be there until the end this year.
Stenson will partner Jaidee and Irish Open winner Soren Kjeldsen in the first two rounds.
Course: PGA Sweden National, Malmo
Prize money: €1.5 million (winner's cheque €250,000)
Length: 7,390. Par: 72 . Field: 156
Course record: 63, Robert Karlsson (2014)
Holder: Thongchai Jaidee, won in a three-way play-off from Stephen Gallacher and Victor Dubuisson
Course details: The Kyle Phillips designed course opened in 2009. The fairways are vast and there aren't many trees so unless it blows a gale, the players will fancy their chances of making birdies and eagles. The layout's defence is heavy bunkering while water comes into play on four holes.
Key attribute: Power. It's a bit of a grip-it-and-rip-it venue and if one of the longer hitters can team up power with a good week on the greens then that's an identikit for a likely winner.
Weather: Sunny and breeze throughout. Irish in action: Kevin Phelan, Michael Hoey, Gareth Maybin, Damien McGrane, Peter Lawrie.
On TV: live on Sky Sports (10am)