US superstar golfer Lexi Thompson has admitted she “can’t wait” to ally with Dame Laura Davies after picking her at the captain’s draft for the Aramco Team Series – London, starting tomorrow at the Centurion Club.
The star duo are joined by Spanish professional Elia Folch, while an amateur will complete their quartet for the innovative $1million event in which two tournaments run alongside one another.
The main focus is the team title with two players’ scores from each of the 54 holes counting towards their overall tally. All of the 108 professionals also have an individual crown to target.
World No.9 Thompson and fellow star Davies are sure to provide a series of highlights – and fun over the next three days.
US ace Thompson said: “I’m really looking forward to being paired with Laura. Just playing this event, it’s a great honour to be here. I’ve played with Laura quite a bit and she’s just an amazing person – but what a game. She will pull off some shots that we’ll never see – that’s the amazing part. I want to play well, but at the same time I just want to enjoy myself. And I know she will as well.”
Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew is used to handing out the picks but was on the receiving end at Tuesday’s draft when fellow Scot Carly Booth selected her.
Booth, Matthew – known as ‘Beany’ throughout golf – and Norway’s Stina Resen will be joined by an amateur to try and tilt at the top end of the leaderboard.
Booth said: “There’s a lot of obvious reasons I picked Beany, being a little bit of a mentor and someone that I looked up to growing up. She’s inspiring, she’s a Solheim Cup captain winner, many Solheims behind her. We get on very well as well, so it’s going to be a great week.”
English star Georgia Hall has clear objectives as to what she wants to achieve this week.
Hall, 25, said: “The goal is to win both! That’s my only goal. If you play well individually and are right up there, then you’ve got a good chance of doing well in the team (event), I think. I’ve been playing well the last few events, so yeah – I’m quite confident and I love playing at home.”
Hall opted for fellow English golfer Gabriella Cowley at the draft and they will team up with Sweden’s Filippa Moork.
2018 Women’s British Open winner Hall added: “I’m really excited for this event. It’s an event I’ve been looking forward to for a very long time. I get to play not far away. I’m so used to getting on a plane for 10, 11 hours, so that’s really nice. And it’s nice to play on an English golf course and to play something different.”
Minjee Lee is another big name at the star-studded event set to tee it up at the Centurion Club. The Australian plays mainly on the LPGA Tour but loves her visits to the Ladies European Tour.
The World No.14 plays alongside Hayley Davis and Katja Pogacar this week – as well as their amateur partner. And she had a few words of advice for those lucky golfers who’ll have the rare chance to play with some of the biggest stars of the women’s game.
Lee said: “They might be a little nervous playing with three professionals – so maybe just have fun. If they have questions, we’re really happy to answer them – we don’t bite! As long as we keep them relaxed, I think they’ll be relaxed. I think it’s a pretty cool format – something that has not been done before. It will just be a cool opportunity and a different experience. I think it’s just a great experience for the amateurs and for us as well. Something different. It brings a lot of interest – it’s really good.”
Rising Indian star Diksha Dagar is another to embrace the team format, having played in the Saudi Ladies Team International under the same format last November.
Dagar, 20, said: “This week’s going to be very exciting. I played last time in Saudi and it was fun. We enjoyed it as a team – ‘let’s make more birdies, let’s win this tournament!’ If the weather is good, hopefully they’ll be good scoring (this week).”
Next month, the Aramco Team Series will move on to Sotogrande in Spain (August 5-7). The third event will be staged in New York (October 14-16) before heading to Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in Saudi Arabia (November 10-12). of each event.
For more information, visit aramcoteamseries.com