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Walton Heath 2023

'Flip a switch'


Madelene Sagstrom on the challenge of competing against friends

Madelene Sagstrom

Madelene Sagstrom has lifted the lid on the mindset of an elite-level golfer.

Having to be at the top of your game for four days of every week to have any chance of success is a challenge unique to golf.

So too is the fact golfers are generally competing against people they know only too well, people they travel round the world with, people they become friends with.

But Sagstrom believes it is crucial to lay friendships to one side as soon as she reaches the first tee.

Swedish pair Madelene Sagstrom (left) and Anna Nordqvist

Sagstrom (left) with on-course rival but Solheim Cup colleague Anna Nordqvist

She said: “It is really hard being friends with, in some respects, your biggest enemies. You have to learn to flip a switch.

“You’re always happy for the ones closest to you, but you still want to go out and beat everyone every single week!

“When you’re in the moment it’s not too hard to focus on your own game and what you’re trying to achieve that week.

“But when somebody plays really well you’re very happy for them, especially if they’re a nice person.

“When you’re done on a Sunday and somebody you care about is playing really, really well it’s not that hard to be happy for them.”

Madelene Sagstrom reads a putt at Muirfield

Sagstrom reads a putt at last year's AIG Women's Open at Muirfield

Sagstrom will be one of the headliners at the AIG Women’s Open in August.

Ranked 32 in the world, the Swedish star finished runner-up to compatriot Anna Nordqvist in 2021 and, having worked hard on the creative side of her game recently, Sagstrom will travel to Walton Heath harbouring hopes of going one better next month.

“I always look forward to it,” she said of the Championship.

“Over the last few years, having really, really good results and playing well in the UK has brought me a lot of confidence.

“I know we’re playing a bit of a different course this year (a heathland course rather than a links), but I know we still have to hit it straight off the tee.

“It’s going to be a good test. It’s always super exciting to go back to Europe and play.

“I feel happy with how I’ve played in the last two years so I'm excited to go back.”


Sagstrom – who is competing in the US Women’s Open in California this week – feels like her form has been on an upward trajectory ever since she missed the cut at the Chevron Championship in April.

She has finished inside the top 20 in three of her last five events, but knows she needs to be at her best for the year’s biggest Championships.

Sagstrom said: “I feel really good about [my game].

“Ever since Chevron it’s been trending in the right direction.

“I’ve had some good results and there have been a few good rounds in there as well so I’m really happy where it’s going, and happy that it’s trending this time of the year because we’ve got a lot of big tournaments coming up.”