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New mum Karen Stupples to return at Chart Hills

England’s Karen Stupples will take on a new role as “Mum on Tour” in three weeks time when she returns to competitive action for the Ladies English Open at Chart Hills Golf Club in Biddenden, Kent, from 5 - 7th July.

The 2004 Women’s British Open winner, who is originally from Deal but lives in Florida, became mum to her first son Logan seven weeks ago in April.

Since then she and partner Bobby Inman, who is also her long-term caddy, have had to adapt to a new lifestyle.

“My life has changed so much, I really don’t know what I did my time before he was born,” said Stupples, a member of the European Solheim Cup team in 2005.

“I know I used to get a lot more sleep, and the amount of laundry is amazing. Everything requires a lot more planning. In general if we all want to go out I have to allow at least 30 minutes more to get ready and even then I'm lucky to get out of the house on time.

“It feels wonderful to be a first time mum, it’s like my life is starting again, with a whole new outlook. It’s not about me anymore it’s about Logan and what he needs. I just hope I can be as good a mum to Logan as my mum is to me.”

Since Logan arrived, Stupples hadn’t played a full round until Monday, but she was looking forward to testing her game against the Chart Hills Golf Course, ahead of the Ricoh Women’s British Open at St Andrews in August.

“I am really excited to be playing in the Ladies English Open. I think it’s the perfect way to start my career as a new mum on tour,” she said. “The fact that it is so close to home will make it a fantastic week. Being able to see family and friends will make it all the more special although I think they will want to see Logan more than me .”

She, Logan and Inman will travel from Florida for the fourth edition of the tournament, which Sweden’s Cecilia Ekelundh won with a one stroke victory last year.

Stupples, who missed the event when she was pregnant last year, will be making her third appearance at Chart Hills, having finished joint third and fifth in the tournament in 2004 and 2005 respectively.

“I am really excited about playing on tour again,” she added. “It’s strange because when I was pregnant I didn't miss playing the tour, I didn't even miss playing golf but two weeks after Logan was born I started to get itchy fingers and wanted to get back to competitive golf as quickly as I could.

“My body wasn't ready to start practicing until four weeks after the birth but my mind was ready. It’s going to be great to see everyone again and to find out what life is like with a baby on tour. I'm sure there will be many challenges but I have so many good examples of how it can be done.”

Other successful mums on Tour include Spain’s Paula Marti, Denmark’s Iben Tinning, Sweden’s Marlene Hedblom and Scots Catriona Matthew and Janice Moodie.

“I will be taking Logan on tour with me. He will be coming to Chart Hills on one of the days but I’m not sure which one yet,” added Stupples. “Logan is really well behaved for a seven week old. He has a great little personality but has my stubbornness and is really impatient when he wants food! He loves cuddles, bouncing in his itsy bitsy bouncer and kicking and wriggling in general.”

Stupples’ last appearance on the LPGA Tour was in Mobile at the Tournament of Champions in November. Since then she has played in a Pro-Am in January organised by Dottie Pepper, which was her last full round until Monday. She said: “I was really quite happy with my game but I still have a long way to go with regards to my general fitness. I can see that being my major hurdle to overcome.

“I am hitting some good quality shots but I have to get used to having a scorecard in my hands again. All in all I am right where I want to be at this stage.

“I have been doing as much practice as my body will let me. I started doing some work four weeks after the birth. I started off slowly with just putting and chipping. I have been slowly been building up to my first 18 holes. My doctor only gave me the all clear to work out five days ago, and that is why I see the fitness side of playing as being my biggest challenge.

“I find it really hard to set any goals for the week of the English Ladies Open. I want to go into the tournament with no expectations. In an Ideal world I would have another couple of weeks to get ready for the event but it will be a good chance to see where my game is and what things I will need to work on before going to the British Open at St. Andrews. Playing at Chart Hills will be a superb way to start my golfing year. I love the layout of the course, it will be a great test for everyone and being so close to home makes it all the more special.”

Stupples will be joined by seven times Ladies European Tour number one Laura Davies at the three-day event, along with Swedes Ekelundh and Maria Hjorth, who won back-to-back Ladies English Open titles in 2004 and 2005.

Also in action will be local player Danielle Masters, who finished third in the tournament last year, former European Solheim Cup captain Catrin Nilsmark and Solheim Cup players Iben Tinning and Gwladys Nocera, all of whom will be looking to earn valuable Solheim Cup points at the tournament ahead of the clash against the Americans in September.

 

 




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