Golf

TEAM ROUSSIN AND NURIA ITURRIOZ TOP THE LEADERBOARDS AT THE END OF ROUND ONE IN FLORIDA

Team Roussin hold a three-shot lead after 18 holes
Nuria Iturrioz leads by two in the individual competition

At the end of the completed first round, Team Roussin and Nuria Iturrioz still lead the team and individual competitions at the Aramco Team Series presented by PIF – Florida.

The first day was disrupted due to a thunderstorm in the afternoon which meant play was suspended for nearly two hours.

However, the teams who did not complete their rounds yesterday returned to Trump International Golf Club West Palm Beach this morning to finish their remaining holes.

After this morning’s groups had finished it was still Team Roussin who topped the individual leaderboard with a score of 16-under-par.

The quartet of Pauline Roussin, Nuria Iturrioz, Trish Johnson and amateur Michael Bickford began their round yesterday on the 10th tee and were five-under through nine holes.

However, they really turned up the heat on their back nine to be 11-under-par and reach a total of -16 to give themselves a three-shot lead.

Captain Roussin said: “We just had fun. We were pretty quiet on the front nine and then we made it happen on the back nine. Obviously, a bit louder, more birdies and definitely a lot of fun.”

While it was also a great day individually for Iturrioz, who fired a great round of 67 (-5) which included an eagle, six birdies, a bogey and a double bogey.

The Spaniard said: “I think the environment with Pauline is very nice. I played with her in Singapore when she won, so I have good memories and I’m trying to do the same as her this week.”

Four teams were in a share of second place at the end of the completed first round with Team Ko, Team Alexander, Team Simmermacher and Team Gustavsson all on 13-under-par.

Captain Ko said: “On our back nine, which was the front line, I think I was very non-apparent, but I tried to be there for support even though my scores weren’t coming. But I feel like we, for the most part, were able to back each other up on the hole.

“If somebody was struggling, the other two would play well and I think that’s what you’ve got to do in this kind of format. This is only my second time playing it, so I’m still trying to get used to us being in a four-ball. It’s been a great group and it was just a lot of fun for us.”

While Team Alexander didn’t drop a shot all day going out in seven-under-par and coming home in six-under-par.

“It’s a great team,” said captain Casandra Alexander, who has been part of the winning team on three occasions. “We’ve had a great result and let’s see how the rest of the week goes.

“It’s definitely the first time I’ve done half decent in the individual, so that is good, and then we as a team put together a nice score so I’m very happy.”

After 18 holes, Team Gainer were in sixth place on 12-under-par with Team Peláez Trivino and Team Davidson Spilkova just one shot further back.

On the individual leaderboard, three players sit two shots behind leader Iturrioz in a tie for second place on three-under-par.

Czechia’s Klara Davidson Spilkova, Scotland’s Louise Duncan and Spain’s Carmen Alonso all produced rounds of 69 (-3).

Two-time LET winner Davidson Spilkova only had one dropped shot on her scorecard and was pleased she was able to stay patient.

“The beginning was a little funky,” she said. “I wasn’t hitting it close enough and I had really long putts, so I was just really trying to stay patient and then I three-putted for one bogey.

“Then since the number five, it got better because it wasn’t as humid and the irons were flying like they’re supposed to fly, and it just got a little better. I was really consistent.

“I was hitting fairways and I was hitting greens and just trying to stay patient on the grains. I had a pretty good speed on the back nine, so I felt good because the speed is the key with putting.”

It was a similar story for Duncan who dropped her only shot of the day on the 16th and rolled in four birdies.

Duncan explained: “It’s a tough golf course, 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.”

Spain’s Alonso, who is part of Team Simmermacher, came back this morning to complete her round and was happy to roll in two more birdies for a back nine of 30(-6).

“The front nine yesterday, when we started it was really windy and the greens were really hard, so I didn’t make too many mistakes but the mistakes I made were bogeys,” said Alonso.

“I was really happy the storm came because it made the greens softer. After the storm, I wasn’t nervous with my swing, but I wasn’t confident either. I spoke to my caddie about keeping calm and staying in our routine. To make six-under on the back nine, I’m happy with the round.”

South Africa’s Alexander, England’s Gabriella Cowley and American Alison Lee were in a tie for fifth place on two-under-par at the conclusion of the first round.

Four players rounded out the top 10 with defending champion Lexi Thompson, Slovenia’s Ana Belac, Wales’ Becky Morgan and Sweden’s Linnea Johansson all on one-under-par.

Round two got underway at 8.30 am local time with all tee times for the day being delayed by one hour and 15 minutes.

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