Follow – Khaled Merdah
Photography – Nawaf Al-Marri
Golf fans experienced an incredible start to the Aramco Team Championship Series, where the results of the competitions exceeded the expectations of the audience as five players tied at the top of the leaderboard with a score of five shots under par. Finland’s Ursula Wikström, South Africa’s Nicole Garcia, Italy’s Virginia Elena Karta, Spain’s Anna Belaiz Trevino and Sweden’s Joanna Gustafsen led the competition by one point ahead of Dubai-based German runner-up Chiara Noga and France’s Lucy Malchrand.
The kick-off conditions for the participants varied as the first group faced calm winds and a warm atmosphere at the start of the day, while the players of the second group of the day found a less warm atmosphere with stronger winds, the atmosphere for which the Royal Greens Club and Stadium is known, and the difficult evening atmosphere helped to highlight Gustafsen’s performance as she managed to finish two under par from the final three holes to get.
Commenting on her first day of performance, Gustafsen said: “The firing was not a success for me, but I succeeded in the last ones, I executed some of them in a special way, and I am satisfied with that, and I hope to continue at the same pace in tomorrow’s competitions.”
And about the competitions in general, the Swedish player continued: “It was an exciting tour. I enjoyed competing with my team, which is the main goal of such tournaments. You think completely about the team’s result, and therefore you work for the best strikes for the team, not just for yourself.” “.
Gustafsen and her team managed to win the New York Tour title of the Aramco Championship Series last October, which gives her more experience in the series competitions, and she confirms this in her speech, saying: “To progress with results during team competitions means that it also serves you in individual competitions, I haven’t I’m still looking at the results, but we will definitely return tomorrow to work to finish the competitions with a distinctive and competitive result.”
On the other hand, Wikström, who topped the list of individual competitions, expressed her happiness with her performance on the first day and continued: “I feel that I started playing better recently, which helped me to achieve better results. But as I started to play, I felt better by the end of the day.”
She added: “The beauty of the stadium has increased, you can see that by the way the ball is rolled, and the softness of the grass has added to the fun of the competitions. I love this stadium, and I like playing here. , this type of stadium suits me and my way of playing.”
Helen Crozer’s team had a special day in the team competitions when she topped the leaderboard with a score of 22 under par. She herself is the team leader in the Jeddah Tour competitions, which Crozer commented on by saying: “I was a reserve player, and I did not know that I would be competing until last night, as I heard of the intention of one from the players to apologize for not participating, but I was only notified of participation via SMS at five in the morning.” And that I will be on the pitch the same day at seven o’clock in the morning, and I am certainly happy to participate, it was an interesting competition, and I was lucky to play in a special way.”
The Cruiser team included Virginia professional Elena Carta and Lena Buchvist, who was crowned amateur 16-year-old player Loujain Khalil, who looked clearly enthusiastic at the end of the competition as she turned in one of the best rounds of her career , which she commented by saying, “I started playing golf less than three years ago. During the Corona pandemic, I honestly didn’t think I’d be here today this fast.”
And Lujain continues: “I still have to learn more and take advantage of the time, which undoubtedly requires a lot of work before I reach the result I’m looking forward to, and I’m happy to be here today. I’m having one of the best tours of my career so far with a team that everyone dreams of joining. We enjoyed playing together but we kept our focus, we played well and I’m definitely proud to be part of the top team.”
And about the feelings that accompanied her during the competitions, especially when she competed with some of the most prominent players in the world, Lujain said: “I feel nervous playing with professional players, but today I the smile of everyone and the enthusiasm at the first strike, which assured me that everyone is here to win, and that I am expected to present myself in the best way, and prove that I, like everyone otherwise, looking for victory, and that’s why I have the competitions, and I felt very comfortable playing with the team, especially because the female professionals are very humble, and playing with them gave me great pleasure.”
It is worth noting that the competitions continue today, Friday, as they stopped yesterday due to the absence of the sun. The team of the Swedish player Jessica Carlson did not complete all 18 holes.
Participants have the opportunity to follow the competitions at the Royal Greens Club and Stadium, as tickets are available for free for the next two days of the tournament.