JEDDAH: Five players ended up at the top of the Aramco series of teams in Jeddah after Thursday’s game at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club.
Ursula Weckström, Nicole Garcia, Virginia Elena Carta, Anna Pelaez-Trevino and Jona Gustafson topped the standings after opening day, with Chiara Noja and Lucy Malcherand putting just one shot at four-unders.
Early tee times were welcomed by steady, warm conditions, while late starters had to deal with the surging winds of the afternoon.
“I wasn’t great from a tee, my driving wasn’t great, but I was putting on a really good performance. I digged in some nice hits and I’m just going to try to keep that momentum going for tomorrow,” Gustafson said. Very enjoyable. You’ve had a great time with the team and that’s the thing about these events, you’re thinking about the team’s score, you’re trying to make sparrows for the team, not yourself. This is just a bonus.”
Gustavsson won the team event at the Aramco Team Series event in New York in October, so he’s no stranger to success in the World Golf Series and added: “Obviously a bonus every time, if you finish the team event well, that’s great. Bonus. Obviously we’ll try And we finish as high as we can. I haven’t looked at the results yet but with a stop in the morning maybe we can score a good result and put some pressure on them.”
Joint Singles Leader Wikstrom feels her game is shaping up well as the rest of the tournament approaches and commented: “Recently, I’ve been playing a little bit better, so things have been going a little better. This morning, I wasn’t comfortable standing on top of the ball when I got on the field. I thought I I would never go to the golf course today, but when I got there, I was starting to feel a little better.
“The golf course has gotten really good. Rolling is better. The greens are a lot stronger so they play really well. I love the course. I love the place. I love playing here, and this kind of course suits me and my game, anyway.”
Helen Crozier’s team had a great day in the tag team competition, finishing at 22 under par, six ahead of its closest rivals Linea Strom, Nicole Garcia and Anna Pelaez Trevino.
Kreuzer had just started her day, entering the tournament as first reserve, and had short notice that Becky Brewerton had pulled out and would take her place on the field and her role as captain.
“Yeah, I was initially on reserve this week and wasn’t sure if I was going to go into the field,” Kreuzer said, “then last night I got some information that someone might be pulling out at 5.00 in the morning they texted me and said you’re in the field, 7.14 On the tee. Obviously, I’m happy to play, it was very fun there and luckily I played well!”
The Kreuzer team was completed by Virginia Elena Carta, Lena Bockvist and tournament buffs, Saudi-based Jane Khalil, who is only 16 years old.
The teen was ecstatic after launching one of her best rounds ever and added, “I only started golf three years ago in COVID-19 and have never seen myself standing here in three years, honestly.
“I still need to learn to take my time. It’s a lot of hard work. I’m happy to see it pay off. I’m so lucky to be here. I had one of the best rides of my life so far. It was the best team anyone could ask for, and we were having fun But today we focused and played well and I’m very lucky to say that I’m with the top team.
“Usually, I get nervous when I play with pros. But I saw the smile on the first tee and the energy, that we are in to win it. But you know what, it has to be me. I have to show them that I really want it too. I really enjoyed it and it felt great.” Great. They are very humble people and fun to play with.”
Play was suspended early due to poor lighting, and Jessica Carlson’s team isn’t finished yet, but they will wrap up their tour on Friday morning.