Following the resumption of the 2023 season, the Ladies European Tour (LET) hopped across the pond for the Aramco Team Series presented by PIF – Florida.
With team and individual titles up for grabs at Trump International Golf Club West Palm Beach, the Draft kicked off proceedings with Scotland’s Louise Duncan selected by Emily Kristine Pedersen as the Solheim Cup star’s first pick.
Elsewhere, Italy’s Alessandra Fanali was given the same honour by Whitney Hillier, while we were given an all-rookie line-up after New Zealand’s Momoka Kobori picked Japan’s Yuri Onishi and Netherlands’ Lauren Holmey.
On a challenging opening day, it was Duncan who started brightest among the rookies as she justified her first round selection by carding a 69 (-3) to storm into early contention.
“It’s a tough golf course,” Duncan said. “So three-under, I’m exceptionally happy with that. It was good to make the cut last week and to have played three rounds and just having a nice preparation and then a good week so far. I’m happy with how I dealt with it considering the heat.”
Two back from the Scot in her second LET event of 2023 was Slovenia’s Ana Belac, while Czechia’s Sara Kouskova opened with a 72 (PAR) to sit in T12.
As round two brought the conclusion of the team event – one which saw Team Roussin cruise to a dominant victory – Duncan continued her momentum in the individual competition by posting a 72 (PAR) to remain in T2, one adrift of Nuria Itturioz.
After two days of action, 10 rookies made the cut which stood at +10. This included Duncan, Belac, Kouskova, Fanali, Aline Krauter, Emma Spitz, Trichat Cheenglab, Patricia Isabel Schmidt, Kirsten Rudgeley and Nastasia Nadaud.
Following a testing final day in Florida, Belac posted a 71 (-1) to leapfrog Duncan into T5 and finish proceedings as rookie of the week on +1.
“I thought it was a really nice week,” the 26-year-old said. “It was really convenient playing in Florida because I live in Orlando. I really liked that the course was playing a little tougher so it wasn’t just a birdie fest out there. It required a lot of high quality shots and I putted well so was able to capitalise on that.”
Despite a disappointing 77 (+5) in the final round, Duncan still cemented her first top-10 of the season as she finished one back from Belac in T7 on +2.
Krauter, Kouskova, and Rudgeley all went under-par on Sunday – the latter posting a 69 (-3) – to finish in T10 on +4.
After eight weeks of action on the Ladies European Tour, Fanali leads the Rookie of the Year standings on 369.78 points.
Next up for our first year graduates is the Belgian Ladies Open at Naxhelet Golf Club. Follow all the action on @LETGolf on Instagram and Twitter and Ladies European Tour on Facebook and YouTube – #RaiseOurGame #BelgianLadiesOpen.