Johnson and Watson play Nordea Masters

From the shores of the English Channel and the demands of Open Championship links golf, the European Tour heads across the North Sea to Sweden for this week's Nordea Masters in Stockholm.

Many of those who took up arms against the volatile nature of an English summer in Kent last week will again do battle.

Known for many years as the Scandinavian Masters, the event is being played for just the second occasion at the Robert Trent Jones Bro Hof Slott Golf Club to the north and west of Stockholm.

In 2010 the event was won by Richard.S. Johnson, a Swede who has spent most of his time in recent years playing the PGA Tour. Johnson defeated Rafa Echenique by one shot with Edoardo Molinari in third position. Johnson holed a 30 foot putt at the final green to win narrowly.

The tournament has been strengthened considerably in 2011 with the participation of Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson, both players displaying a propensity to play internationally on a more regular basis than some of their fellow countrymen.

Johnson chased Clarke all the way last week at Royal St Georges and eventually tied for second confirming and provided he has escaped unscathed his chances of continuing his excellent recent form look good. He is, by some way, the leading world ranked player in this field.

Watson has been solid if unspectacular since his win earlier in the season in New Orleans. His recent trip to a stand-alone European Tour event, the French Open, a month ago was somewhat of a disaster on and off the golf course but he is back for more.

The pair will face a strong local challenge from Robert Karlsson who was playing very well before his missed cut last week. Back in front of his home fans he is expected to improve markedly.

Henrik Stenson has thrown out signals of late that maybe the nightmare of the last twelve months is coming to an end. He finished 9th in Germany a month ago and made the cut last week at the Open. Compared to some of his earlier work they were improvements and he could improve even further this week.

Olesen Thorbjorn looks to be a real find in 2011, having finished second in South Africa, France and Italy. The Dane won on the Challenge Tour last season en route to this higher level and is sure to win a European Tour event before long.

Australasians in the field include Michael Campbell, Marcus Fraser, Andrew Dodt, Scott Strange, Matthew Zions, Mark Brown, Daniel Gaunt, Scott Hend, Wade Ormsby and Rick Kulacz.

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