Golf: Davies has designs on third European success

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The Independent Online
LAURA DAVIES, who has already won twice and never finished outside the top nine in six European tournaments this year, has every incentive to claim a third victory here this week in the IBM Open which begins over the Haninge course today.

Davies has closed to within pounds 3,000 of Trish Johnson and her form suggests that winning the Order of Merit title, as she did for two consecutive years from 1985, is within her grasp.

Davies is probably playing as well, if not better than when she held both the British and US Open titles in 1987. She is a remarkable 48 under par for her last 15 rounds in Europe and her confidence has soared since an early-season loss of form.

Alison Nicholas, Florence Descampe and Pam Wright are the only members of the Solheim Cup side missing this week when Liselotte Neumann defends the title she won over the same course last year.

Neumann, however, is suffering from the shock of hearing that her recently acquired luxury apartment in Florida was extensively damaged by Hurricane Andrew while Johnson, another Solheim Cup player, has other problems.

Two weeks ago Johnson had to pull out of the du Maurier Classic in Canada with viral meningitis and she also withdrew from yesterday's pro-am. 'If I play too much I become very tired. I just hope that I will be all right for the tournament,' she explained.

Helen Alfredsson, the winner of the Hennessy Cup last month and fifth in the Northgate Classic in Minnesota last Sunday, returns for her third European outing. But Annika Sorenstam, another Swede, has strong support. Two weeks ago she lost to Vicki Goetze in the final of the US Amateur Championship and could emulate Gillian Stewart, the last amateur to win a Tour title in 1984.