Stage set for Saudi Ladies Team International to tee off from Tuesday

Stage set for Saudi Ladies Team International to tee off from Tuesday

The debut Saudi Ladies Team International gets underway tomorrow – and in many ways promises to be one of the most innovative tournament formats women’s golf has ever seen.

With $500,000 up for grabs, the three-day, 36-team event offers a serious pay-day for LET players, being behind only the Women’s and Scottish Opens — and its weekend sister tournament, the Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by PIF — in the weight of its prize fund.

The Saudi Ladies Team International is first of its kind tournament where 36 teams will compete together while the professionals concurrently vie for an individual title, with $500,000 total prize money on offer, according to a press release.

The teams were decided using an ‘NFL-style’ draft system that saw each captain pick their first player before being randomly allocated a third professional teammate and a competing amateur, largely made up of event sponsors and partners.

Some of the stand-out picks include Amy Boulden selecting fellow Welsh star Chloe Williams. This may bring extra pressure to perform as Chloe’s dad, Paul, doubles as Amy’s coach. Boulden did, however, admit that she had been left somewhat irked by England’s Florentyna Parker stealing her first choice pick, best pal Kelsey Macdonald of Scotland, earlier in the round – something bound to add extra spice to the event.

Elsewhere, Maha Haddioui opted for fellow Moroccan Ines Laklalech, while Australia’s Stephanie Kyriacou – the leading rookie on the LET – chose 16-year-old Pia Babnik for a team packed with youthful energy.

England’s Charley Hull was another captain, and she picked Scotland’s Alison Muirhead for her team.

Hull, who finished sixth in the weekend’s Saudi Ladies International, said: “I played with Alison last week and I thought she was pretty good. I played with her in Scotland in a practice round too and she was really nice, so it was an easy choice.

“It will feel different playing in a team event rather than as single players. It will be fun and help us relax a bit more. I’m looking forward to it.”

Muirhead added: “I’m really looking forward to the Saudi Ladies Team International, especially as I’ve got Charley in my team! I’m really excited to get started and feel we could do something as a team. We both have the game to do it and it’ll just be a matter of rolling in the putts and avoiding the bogeys.

“Playing as a team will be different because we’ll probably get off on each other’s energy, especially if you’re playing well and your playing partners are playing well.”

As for the tournament’s format, each team will play three rounds, where their two lowest scores per hole are carded – with amateurs receiving ¾ of their official playing handicap. Put into context, two birdies on the par four first hole would put that team on a score of two-under par.

The team with the lowest total score after all three days will be declared champions and will see its three professionals take home a winning share of the $300,000 prize fund. The lowest scoring professional across the three days – who may well come from a losing team – will themselves be rewarded with a share of the $200,000 individual prize fund.