By Benny Teo
The Ladies European Tour has truly turned up a couple of notches in terms of fan experience with the arrival of the Aramco Team Series Singapore here at Laguna National Golf Resort Club.
Played as a unique Pro-Am format where the amateur actually contributes to the final result, this 3-day event played from March 16-18, will see the top talents of Europe come together and compete for the US$1 million prize fund.
Kevin Kwee, Executive Director of Laguna National Golf Resort Club, was ecstatic with the prospect of hosting the event and said, “We are absolutely delighted to be holding such a prestigious tournament at our fabulous golf course. As the host venue, we will ensure we provide all players, caddies, sponsors and fans with an unforgettable experience so they leave Laguna National Golf Resort Club with only incredible memories from the week.”
It all began in 2020 as the Saudi Ladies Team International at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) by the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia. Then, it was the penultimate LET event of the season and followed the Aramco Saudi Ladies International.
Soon after in 2021, the competition expanded to become the Aramco Team Series, with four tournaments to be held in the United Kingdom, the United States, Spain and Saudi Arabia.
This year, it has expanded its reach across three continents and five major cities around the world, beginning here at Singapore, then to Florida, London, Hong Kong, and then back to Riyadh for the final event.
Noah Ali Reza, newly-appointed CEO of Golf Saudi, is thrilled by the return of the Aramco Team Series and excited to be taking the tournament to a completely new venue.
He said, “The Aramco Team Series events have gone from strength to strength since their inception and provide an exceptional experience both on and off the golf course for the best female golfers in the world.
“It is exciting to be heading to a new venue in Laguna National Golf Resort Club, it looks an incredible venue, definitely befitting of an Aramco Team Series event and I hope that players and supporters alike have a great week.”
The appeal of this series lie in its unique format, not just as a team event – LIV Golf has also done that, albeit a later start – but also the amateur component that makes the competition more challenging.
How it works is that captains are picked based on their position on the Official Women’s World Golf Rankings and they then draft their first professional teammate. The second professional, as well as the final cog in the wheel, which is the amateur, are then finally assigned to them randomly.
The uncertainty of the mix makes this an exciting prospect not just for the professionals who are competing for top dollar and important Rolex Rankings, Solheim Cup ranking points, and the Race to Costa del Sol Official Rankings, but also for their amateur partners competing and contributing for weal or for woe.
However, the buck still falls squarely on the pros at play. Scoring on a “best of two” format, the pros will still be called to make most of the shots, but it does make for compelling spectating, especially when the amateur bags an important shot to contribute to the score.
Since 2022, the format was amended so that teams compete over only 36 holes, the first two days of the tournament, with the final day exclusively for the 60 and ties who make the cut, to compete for the individual title.
So, regardless of whose scores are being taken for the team competition, the pros will finish every hole as they compete for the individual competition. With the prize fund split equally between team and individual winners, there is much to play for from the first drive on Friday to the last putt on Sunday.