Ladies European Tour
Mar 21st, 2022
Georgia Hall wins Aramco Saudi Ladies International
Second LET title for the Solheim Cup star
Photography: Tristan Jones/LET
In the second event of the Ladies European Tour (LET) season, Hall produced a consistent week at Royal Greens carding rounds of 69 (-3), 69 (-3), 68 (-4) and 71 (-1) to finish at the top of the leaderboard and add her second LET title alongside her 2018 Women’s Open victory.
On the final day, the English star made five birdies and four bogeys on her way to victory and as a result also sits at the top of the Race to Costa del Sol standings alongside Germany’s Esther Henseleit.
“The front nine is a little bit easier, a little bit less wind than we've had,” said Hall. “I tried to take advantage and hit some really good shots on the front nine to get me further ahead, and that kind of settled me.
“I was happy with the shots I hit on 15 and 16. It was windier than yesterday and 15 and 16 can be very tricky, so I tried to damage limitation there. I was really happy with the birdie on 17.”
After rolling in her final putt, Hall was congratulated by fellow European Solheim Cup star Emily Kristine Pedersen with the duo crying happy tears.
“To lead all week is very special. I think the first round really was very important for me. I played incredible that round. It really set me up for the rest of the week,” she continued.
“Sometimes it's not always easy with a five-shot lead into the last day, it's a little bit more pressure on you, but I was really happy with the way I conducted myself today.
“It's fantastic to win in March early in the season. I really love this place and love the golf course. I was fine after 18, and Emily started crying, and it made me cry. I was just really proud of the way I played today.”
Sweden’s Johanna Gustavsson and Czech rookie Kristyna Napoleaova finished in a tie for second place on six-under-par – five shots behind winner Hall.
It has been an amazing week for Napoleaova, who was a former footballer for AC Sparta and only began playing golf in the summer of 2016.
“It's like a dream. I didn't expect even to get into the event and what happened this week, I feel is like a fairy tale,” said the 25-year-old.
“It was an absolutely incredible week. I'm so grateful to be here. I can't wait to come back again. I think everyone wants to win and I hope one day any time soon it will come for me too.”
While it has been an excellent start to the season for Gustavsson who followed up her T8 finish at the Magical Kenya Ladies Open with T2 this week thanks to a birdie at the last.
“It was unexpected. I didn’t play that well early in the week, I managed to find my drives again and played really good at the weekend,” said the Swede.
“I think the greens suit me and I can see the breaks quite good, and it was a good putting week. We have been working for years, me and Alex on the swing, and this winter we didn’t have that much to do.
“A big goal of mine has always been to get into the Women’s Open this year, so it would be nice to do that without qualifying. I will keep trying to do that.”
Denmark’s Pedersen, who won this event in 2020, finished in fourth place on five-under-par after a final round of 67 (-5), while Spain’s Carlota Ciganda was one shot further back in fifth.
American Kelly Whaley produced a spectacular final day performance equalling the course record of 63 (-9) and setting an LET tournament record of eight consecutive birdies.
The 24-year-old catapulted herself up the final leaderboard as she finished in a tie for sixth place on three-under-par.
“It is the best round I've ever had in a tournament. My whole goal today was to just enjoy it and have fun, being my first international professional event. I've never had eight birdies in a row. That's something memorable for anyone,” said the Epson Tour player.
“You almost black out when you do that, but I kept telling myself one after one until you're done. It's a long day, and it's a lot of holes. Once I made about four or five birdies, I said, ‘okay, you're in it now. You can't stop.’
“It was just giving myself opportunities and it was a lot of fun. I think in these situations pressure can get to you, and it becomes almost daunting, but I really approached today trying to just enjoy every shot and find something about every hole that I loved.”
Whaley finished alongside Australia’s Steph Kyriacou, who also holds the course record, and three-time Major winner Anna Nordqvist.
Dutch star Anne Van Dam finished in ninth place on two-under-par with Germany’s Sophie Witt, American Angel Yin and South Africa’s Nicole Garcia all T10 on level par.
In the 2022 Race to Costa del Sol, Hall sits alongside Henseleit at the top of the standings with 500 points each while Sweden’s Gustavsson has jumped up to third place with 353.75 points from the first two events.
Spain’s Marta Sanz Barrio is in fourth with 320 points, Czech Republic’s Napoleaova is fifth with 275 points and Sweden’s Linnea Ström is sixth on 230 points.
2020 Race to Costa del Sol champion Pedersen is in seventh place alongside Germany’s Sophie Hausmann with South Africa’s Lee-Anne Pace in ninth and Spain’s Carlota Ciganda rounding out the top ten.