Aramco Saudi Ladies International
You might say that I saved the best for last. I just finished playing in two big events in Jeddah at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club. The first event was the Aramco Saudi Ladies International, that was played in a normal format over 4 rounds. The second event, Aramco Team Series – Jeddah, was the last of the Aramco Team Series events which has been played in London, Sotogrande, New York and Jeddah this year.
The two events were played at the same course last year, and it also hosted an event for the men’s tour last year. Going into the tournament I knew that I needed to change a few things in order to play better than I did in 2020.
Last year I came in last place in the Aramco Saudi Ladies International, not second to last or almost last, but last. It was a slap in the face, but it taught me an important lesson, I was not good enough in the conditions we played, which were windy, dry, and warm.
So going back to the same course this year I had to be better prepared. I needed to get better control of the ball in the wind, to control the curve of the driver, and to handle the heat.
My solution was to learn the shots I needed with my coach and prepare at a course with similar conditions and similar layout, La Reserva de Sotogrande. We had quite a bit of wind, and to simulate the heat, I wore long pants and a sweater even on the warmest days. I visualized the holes I struggled on last year and overcame them in my mind, even before I got to the practice rounds in Jeddah.
The feeling of being prepared was amazing, and when we got to the first tournament round I felt like all the hard work was over, and it was time to have fun. I was ready for everything that the course and conditions could throw my way.
Aramco Saudi Ladies International went as well as I could have hoped for. The field was strong and full of highly ranked LPGA and LET players. It was one of the toughest fields I have played in. Lydia Ko won with the incredible scores 67, 70, 63, 65 (-23) five shots in front of the second place.
I shot 71, 72, 75, 70 (par) and finished in 38th place. Even though the conditions were a little easier than last year, I still improved my score by 19 strokes over the first two rounds. Knud Andreas and I had a lot of fun both on and off the course with our friends in our «buddy group». Some shots could have been hit a lot better, but over all we were very happy with how we had handled the course this time. The best part was that we had done a great job and were going to get another chance in only two days when it was time for the Aramco Team Series.
Aramco Team Series
The Aramco Team Series was played over three days and with a team captain, two LET players and one amateur.
Pia Babnik had me as her first choice of player and we were given Camille Chevalier as our team mate and Troy Thompson as our amateur.
With a team score of -50 we, Team Babnik, came in third in the team event. We all contributed well and had not a single bogey counting to the team score over the three days. Pia played extremely well the last two days shooting two 65 bogey-free rounds and she won the individual tournament at -16. I shot 68, 68, 72 (-8) and finished at a strong 18th place.
We had a blast as a team and found a way to stay calm and focus on each shot, trying not to rush ourselves with trying to make birdies.
We were only one small stroke behind the two Team co leaders, which did sting a little as my last putt just caught the side of the hole and lipping out.
It was very easy to be disappointed because I missed the last birdie put, but I want to turn it around and look at what I did well. I am happy with the great birdie on the 17th with cameras following us. I am also proud of the shot I hit under pressure on the 18th setting up a good birdie opportunity. I also take with me that my last putt on the 18th had a good stroke on a good line in spite of the pressure on my shoulders. I know that even if I hit the perfect put on the perfect line, with perfect speed, it still may miss the hole, therefore I chose to look at what I did well instead.
My experience from the two weeks was great! I had a blast, and I played some amazing golf. There were plenty of things I know I could have done better if given a second chance, but I am very happy that I can see that I have grown a lot as a player only in one year.
My number one goal is improvement, and that is what we have seen the past two weeks.
At the moment I am the first reserve for the LET Tour Final in Spain. So my plans for the next weeks are kind of up in the air, but stay tuned, I will post when I know more.