Ladies European Tour
Jul 9th, 2021
Team Pace out front at Aramco Team Series
Kelsey MacDonald, Anne Van Dam & Leonie Harm share individual lead
Photography: Tristan Jones / LET
First, French ace Caudal conjured up a magical long-range chip that rolled in for birdie at Centurion Club’s 18th hole. Team-mate Carson Heard followed up with a superb up-and-down from the sand for another late gain to lift Pace’s team to 16-under-par.
The tally was sufficient to leave them one clear of Team Simmermacher, with a further stroke back to Team Williams and Team Cowan. The fourth member of Pace’s in-form bunch was Carolin Kauffmann, who made five birdies.
Pace said: “It’s so great to play in this format. You just kind of go for everything, go for the birdies. I think it inspired me, definitely.
“Carolin made so many putts out there, Anne-Lise had the chip-in on the last hole and then our amateur James came in with three birdies on the last nine, so that was huge for us.”
Caudal’s 45-yard chip-in delighted the galleries around the scenic final green but it came as no surprise to her.
She said: “My chipping has been really good for, I don’t know how many weeks now, and yeah, it went in. I was very happy for me, for my score, but very happy for the team. I saw that if we do two birdies on the last, we can be leading, so it was very important.”
Simmermacher’s team served up their own big finish less than an hour earlier when Karina Kukkonen holed out for birdie from deep rough with a 90-yard pitch. It was a fitting way for her to finish a colourful round that started with an eagle at the opening hole.
Kukkonen said: “I was kind of thinking, should I chip out. I was like, ‘whatever’, just went and hit it – and I couldn’t even see it rolling in. I need to get my eyesight fixed!”
The 54-hole event sees three professionals joined by an amateur with best two scores on every hole to count. And the format is proving popular, not least with Team Williams.
Early starter Chloe Williams led Cloe Frankish, Mireia Prat and amateur Mia Baker to 14-under-par and was swift to praise the format.
Williams said: “I’ve got a fantastic team and we just had so much fun. We all bounced off each other, helped one another and I’m seriously looking forward to the rest of the week.”
The 108 women professionals are also competing for an individual crown on offer at the Centurion Club and Scotland’s Kelsey MacDonald has a share of the lead.
She fired a bogey-free 67 and is in front at six-under-par alongside Dutch star Anne Van Dam and Germany’s Leonie Harm.
MacDonald, 30, said: “I’m really chuffed with that. It has been a long time coming.
“My game has been there for a while. I just haven’t been able to maybe put it together in one round. So I’m just delighted.
“I got off to a great start, hit rescue into nine feet at the first and made eagle, so that was just a huge boost. But I think the course does suit me just purely on the length.
“It’s playing soft, fairly long and I’m probably one of the longer hitters, so that’s a huge advantage.”
Germany’s Leonie Harm got it to seven-under-par, but a dropped shot at the last saw her fall back into a tie for the lead.
And she and MacDonald were joined late in the day by Dutch ace Anne Van Dam, who eagled the final hole.