Five-way tie for lead on opening day of Aramco Team Series Jeddah

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  • Ursula Wikstrom, Nicole Garcia, Virginia Elena Carta, Ana Pelaez Trivino and Johanna Gustavsson all tied at the top of the leaderboard
  • All five players sitting on -5, one shot clear of Chiara Noja and Lucie Malchirand
  • Team Kreuzer leads the team competition on 22 under par
  • Event taking place at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club from 10-12 November with tickets available for free

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia -: A thrilling day’s action finished at the Aramco Team Series in Jeddah with five players tied at the top of the leaderboard on five under par.

Ursula Wikstrom, Nicole Garcia, Virginia Elena Carta, Ana Pelaez Trivino and Johanna Gustavsson lead the standings, with Chiara Noja and Lucie Malchirand well placed just one shot back at four under par.

The early tee times were greeted with still, warm conditions, while the later starters had to deal with increasing winds in the afternoon, as is customary at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club. That made Gustavsson’s round all the more impressive as she went home in 32, including two birdies in the final three holes in the setting sun.

The Swede commented: “I wasn’t great off the tee, my driving wasn’t great, but I putted really well. I holed some nice putts and I’m just going to try and keep that momentum going for tomorrow.

“It was just a good solid round, and it was great fun. I had a great time with the team and that’s the thing about these events, you think about the team score, and try and make birdies for the team, not yourself. That is just a bonus.”

Gustavsson won the team event in the Aramco Team Series event in New York in October so is no stranger to success in golf’s global series and added: “It’s obviously a bonus every time, if you finish well in the team event, it’s such a nice bonus. We are obviously going to try and finish as high as we can. Haven’t looked at the scores yet but with being off in the morning, maybe we can post a nice score and put some pressure on them.”

Joint individual leader Wikstrom feels her game is shaping up nicely heading into the rest of the tournament and commented: “Recently, I’ve started to play a bit better, so things have been going a bit nicer. This morning, I didn’t feel very good standing over the ball when I got on the range. I thought I’m never going to get on the golf course today, but when I got there, I started to feel a bit better.

“The golf course is getting really good. Rolling better. The greens are much firmer so it’s playing quite nicely. I like the course. I like the place. I like to play here, and this type of course suits me and suits my game, anyway.”

Team Helen Kreuzer had an outstanding day in the team competition finishing their round on 22 under par, six clear of their nearest competitors Team Linnea Strom, Team Nicole Garcia and Team Ana Pelaez Trivino.

Kreuzer had quite the start to her day, coming into the tournament as first reserve, she had short notice that Becky Brewerton had pulled out and she would take her place in the field and her role as Team Captain.

Kreuzer said: “Yeah, I was first reserve this week and I wasn’t sure if I was going to get into the field, and then last night, I got a little heads up that somebody might be pulling out and 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 be playing, it was great fun out there and fortunately I played okay!”

Team Kreuzer was completed by Virginia Elena Carta, Lina Boqvist and championship amateur Lujain Khalil who is Saudi-based and just 16-years of age.

The teenager was ecstatic after shooting one of her best rounds ever and added: “I started golf only three years ago in COVID and I never saw 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 very privileged to be here. I had one of the best rounds of my life so far. It was the best team anyone could ask for, and we were having fun but today we focused, played well and I’m very lucky to say I’m standing with the team that’s in the lead.

“Usually, I am nervous when I am playing with professionals. But I saw the smile on the first tee and the energy, that we’re in it to win it. But you know what, I have to be me. I have to show them that I really want it as well. I really enjoyed it out there and felt very comfortable. They are very humble people and fun to play with.”

Play was suspended early due to bad light, with Team Jessica Karlsson yet to finish, but they will close out their round on Friday morning.

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