Co-hosted by Sweden’s two most famous golfers, Annika Sorenstam and Henrik Stenson, the Scandinavian Mixed replaces the Scandinavian Masters, an event in existence since 1991.
Colin Montgomerie won the inaugural edition and South Africa’s Erik Van Rooyen won the last staging in 2019.
The first edition of the Scandinavian Mixed was intended to be played last year but it was one of many to be lost to the pandemic.
Co-sanctioned between the European Tour and the Ladies European Tour (LET), the Scandinavian Mixed is just like any other 72-hole stroke play event with the field playing one course for one prize fund and for one trophy. The men will play from the men’s tees, and the ladies from the ladies’ tees.
The field of 156 is equally split between 78 men and 78 women, the groupings over the first two days will be mixed, and there’ll be a cut after 36 holes with the top-65 and ties progressing to the weekend.
Vallda G&CC, Kungsbacka, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Men’s Yardage 7,060
Ladies’ Yardage 6,138
Vallda is a new course and quite a confusing one.
Designed by Martin Hawtree, it’s described as a heath course, inspired by legendary English heathland tracks, but it looks quite linksy to me. Matt Cooper has looked at the venue in a bit more detail in his each-way column here.
Live on Sky Sports all four days, starting at midday on Thursday.
Can a woman win?
The market is dominated by men and I’ve not seen anyone tip up one of the ladies yet. Matt has plumped for three gents in his column and he could well be right but I’m not convinced.
I really like the format and I think it could be extremely popular over time but a level playing field is absolutely essential to its future success.
I don’t for a second think the disparity in hole lengths will be set up to favour the ladies but I can certainly see the organisers airing on the side of caution and altering their lengths as the event rolls on, if they haven’t got it right from the start.
I suspect the aim will be to have an equal number of men and women in-contention going into the weekend and they’ll do their utmost to achieve that goal.
The weather forecast suggests that Saturday is going to be a blustery day and we might witness quite a bit of change on the leaderboard prior to Sunday’s finale. If the number of ladies progressing is as low as the market suggests it might be, that could be the day the hole lengths are altered, and an advantage is created.
Keeping an eye on the early score should soon tell us whether there is an advantage and if there is, backing a few ladies a little nearer to the lead could create some decent positions going into Sunday.
Caution is most definitely advised though. The unique nature of the event has resulted in poor market liquidity and that won’t improve on Sunday when the tournament concludes at the same time as England play Croatia in their opening Euro 2020 game.
I don’t know enough about the ladies game to have a strong opinion on the contenders but given the 2020 LET Order of Merit winner, Emily Kristine Pedersen, is the 5/1 favourite with the Sportsbook to end the week as the Top Female Player, I was more than happy to take 50.049/1 about her winning the tournament.
A general 33/1 chance on the High Street, the 25-year-old Dane won three events in-a-row in November and she arrives in Sweden on the back of a reasonable tied 23rd at the U.S Open last week.
Emily Kristine Pedersen @ 50.049/1
*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter