Star golfers anticipate the challenge ahead of Aramco Team Series Florida
18 May 2023
Two of the best players in the world of women’s golf are anticipating a week of strong competition and challenging conditions ahead of the Aramco Team Series presented by PIF at Trump International Golf Club, West Palm Beach which takes place from Friday 19th May, and concludes on Sunday 21st May.
Home favourite Lexi Thompson is looking forward to adding to her success in the series after winning the Aramco Team Series in New York last year and is confident on her chances ahead of the week. Thompson said: “I'm overall just looking forward to the week. The Aramco Team Series events are such great events to begin with, and I have a lot of support out there coming from Friday”. She went on to say: “It’s definitely a bonus to be here in Florida and it would mean the world to me to win to defend the title. I have a lot of family friends coming up to support me, so overall it'll just be a blast of a week.”
Local knowledge will likely be a deciding factor come Sunday, as Thompson looks to add to her Aramco Team Series title in New York last year. On her 'home advantage’, the major champion, Thompson, brings a confident approach to the tournament. Thompson said: “I would say it's a little bit of an advantage being on my home course, but you still have to go out there and hit the golf shots”.
Thompson faces stellar competition throughout the week, as she will be joined by world number three and two-time major champion Lydia Ko, who is amongst those returning to the Aramco Team Series following her successful debut in Singapore in March where she finished in third place at Laguna National Golf Resort Club.
“ I really enjoyed playing the Aramco Team Series - Singapore. There’s not that many opportunities where you get to play in the team format and even though we are counting those individual scores, it’s nice to have that team atmosphere. ”
Lydia Ko - World Number Three
On the golf course itself, world number seven Lexi Thompson and Florida-local is well placed to provide an insight on the Trump International Golf Club layout: “It’s an amazing golf course. It’s so beautiful. It’s probably in the best shape that I've ever seen. And I've played out here for ten years at least, and they have it in great shape for us”. Thompson, a renowned ball-striker who hit 77.2% Greens-in-Regulation on the 2022 LPGA Tour season, commented: “It's just a very difficult golf course and they have it set up difficult as well, yardage-wise. It's a ball striker’s golf course, you have to definitely commit to your lines off the tee. It requires a lot of really good tee shots and it’s very scenic; a lot of water, a lot of trees. But you just have to sometimes play more aggressively because you want shorter clubs coming into some of the greens because some of them are elevated and a lot of them have a lot of slope in them as well”.
Lydia Ko, who is making her first appearance at Trump International Golf Club West Palm Beach said: “The golf course is nice, it’s tricky. I had zero idea what the golf course was like before seeing the course for the first time yesterday, but there's some longer holes and some shorter holes. It's a really good golf course, the greens are quite small so I think when you're on the green you've got a pretty good chance of having a birdie opportunity, but it's also just as easy to not be on it.” Echoing her fellow competitor’s remarks, Ko went on to say: “I think ball striking ability is probably going to be a big key and then the greens are in really good shape. The greens are really rolling very nicely” - high praise from the player who finished 2nd in putting average on the 2022 LPGA Tour season, by averaging 28.61 putts per round.
On the physical challenge facing the field this week which is forecast to bring warm temperatures and high-humidity, managing the conditions could be the deciding factor. Thompson, who is more than used to such conditions is well aware of the test ahead: “It feels like it's very humid out there, but just have to drink a lot of water and stay hydrated”.
The Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour is competed across five global destinations throughout the year. After starting the season off in Singapore, the series moves this week to Florida, then on to London and Hong Kong before concluding in Riyadh in October. The Aramco Team Series Florida consists of 36 teams comprising of one amateur and three professionals who compete for a $1million prize fund. Aside from the team event, there is a three-day individual stroke play competition contested amongst the professionals which contributes to both Race to Costa del Sol and Rolex World Ranking points.
On the team format of the Aramco Team Series, Ko and Thompson gave a player’s insight on this side of the event, as Thompson said:
“ The format for this event, I think, is very unique too, so it's a lot of fun. It's not so cutthroat like an individual event, even though there is an individual aspect to it. So I think it's different, and I think it's great for fans to be able to come out and watch us. ”
The world number three Ko added to this sentiment commenting: “It's just great to be in that different atmosphere and even though you route for other players when you normally play, I think there is an extra little excitement when they hit good shots”.
The combined team scores over the first two rounds of the Aramco Team Series contribute to the team result, which means teams have to get off to a hot start in order be in contention for team honors. Ko, who is making her second appearance in the Aramco Team Series this week in Florida reflected on her debut in Singapore: “I had a great group, I had so much fun with Aline [Krauter] and Lisa [Pettersson] as well. I was hoping we'd do better in the team format. I didn't realize how low you needed to score! And we didn't play bad at all, it's just everybody played better, but whatever happens it's just it is what it is”. The Aramco Team Series promises to #BringTheEnergy and fans can expect plenty of low scores this week in Florida, if the winning scores in the previous Aramco Team Series team events are anything to go by (Note: Previous winning scores of Aramco Team Series: 31-under par (Bangkok, 2022), 27-under par (London, 2022), 33-under par (Sotogrande, 2022), 23-under par (New York) and 29-under par (Singapore, 2023)).
The Aramco Team Series, which is now in its third season, is made up of two competitions being played simultaneously: an individual stroke play competition and the team event. Each team consists of three professionals and one amateur, with the team captains selected based on their Rolex Women’s World Golf Ranking in advance.
The top 26 captains then select one player each in a NFL draft-style selection from the remaining field of 78 professionals in reverse order, with the 26th ranked captain picking first, and the top-ranked captain picking last. The third professional and amateur are decided by random draw to complete each individual team.
The team competition is competed over 36-holes which is played over Friday and Saturday, with the final round of the 54-hole individual strokeplay competition being played on Sunday. Teams for the 2023 Aramco Team Series Florida were announced last night in the pre-tournament draft, with featured teams of Team Ko (captain Lydia Ko, Tereza Melecka and Marianne Skarpnord) and Team Thompson (captain Lexi Thompson, Lydia Hall and Kelly Whaley) announced.
Tickets to watch some of the best players in the world in action are available from $15 for adults and free for under 18s. There are a host of fun activities on offer throughout the week at the tournament Fan Zone including short game challenges, cornhole and food and beverage stations. On Saturday, World Long Drive Champion Kyle Berkshire will be hosting a clinic and long drive display for all ticket holders. To purchase tickets, please click here.
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