jueves, 15 de febrero de 2024

Competition blown away by Thai star Tavatanakit in round one of the Aramco Saudi Ladies International Presented by PIF

                           


 


Wind speeds may have reached 30mph today in the Riyadh desert, but Thailand’s unshakable Patty Tavatanakit converted her early morning start into a position at the top of the leaderboard in the Aramco Saudi Ladies International Presented by PIF. 

A red-hot back nine saw Tavatanakit emerge as the frontrunner at Riyadh Golf Club, with her stellar performance including seven birdies and just one blemish on the scorecard, to end with a 66, leading by one stroke at six-under-par.

"I just blacked out the first four holes,” admitted leader Tavatanakit. “But I was proud of the way I played today as the conditions were really, really tough.  

“My commitment was 110%, which is what I've been working on this off season a lot - I’m just happy to walk away with everything I did with my processes, regardless of the outcome. I really enjoyed it.” 

 

Since Alison Lee’s dramatically low score at Aramco Team Series Presented by PIF – Riyadh 2023, the course has been made longer and tougher, and the difference in the scoreboard between the events demonstrates just that. 

South African Paula Reto was another to navigate the conditions well though, with a five-under-par finish on her first competitive outing at Riyadh Golf Club - after missing the cut at the 2023 Aramco Saudi Ladies International Presented by PIF.  

"I gave myself some good opportunities and committed to the lines of the targets off the tee and to the green," Reto explained, shedding light on her strategy for tackling the course's challenges. 

“Patience is a word we always use, but just being able to see and feel the shot, and maybe not as an as an aggressive swing, a little bit of a slower club, that type of thing can really help.” 

  


For Dane Nicole Broch Estrup, there is redemption on her mind – after a promising tournament came to a premature end in October 2023, disqualified due to incorrect scoring at the Aramco Team Series Presented by PIF – Riyadh. 

Finishing today -4 and in T3 with an impressive eagle on the par five 12th hole, Estrup was acutely aware of the new challenges of the course, after the greenkeepers lengthened the fairways following Alison Lee’s record-breaking win. 

“The course has changed and is playing longer. Then obviously, with the windy conditions today, it’s very different from when we were here in October. 

“I do enjoy playing in windy conditions. I think you’ve got to be a good ball striker to make your way around in these conditions. I see myself as a good ball striker, so it was a good start.” 

Belgium’s Manon De Roey shares third place with Broch Estrup, with an eventful front nine that saw her record five birdies and two bogies – before finishing up on four-under-par.

 

There was less success for World No.8 Charley Hull, who finished the day +2, whilst American Lexi Thompson’s steady round of even par (E) will keep her in touching distance of the top of the leaderboard for now. 

With the wind set to continue on Day Two at the Aramco Saudi Ladies International Presented by PIF, it remains to be seen whether the likes of former champions Georgia Hall (+1) and Emily Pedersen (-1) can build up a head of steam and claim a second title. 

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