Rookie Jenny Haglund, Marianne Skarpnord, Isi Gabsa, Aditi Ashok, Florentyna Parker and Amy Boulden all have strong starts in a thrilling first day at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club
Food trucks, family fun and interactive golf clinics entertain crowds throughout the day
South Africa’s Lee-Ann Pace leads the field of the world’s best women’s golfers, as the second edition of the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open teed off today at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club.
Thirty-five-year-old Pace led the leaderboard at the end of the opening round, with 6-under par on the stunning beachfront course, just one shot ahead of the chasing pack, five of whom all finished on 5-under par. Seven fellow players follow closely behind on 4-under par.
Lee-Ann Pace started the afternoon with a birdie-filled front nine, a performance which pleased the South African despite having to contend with the course’s quick greens,
Pace said: “I played nicely and made quite a few putts and was successful with long putts too, including one from off the green, which I was lucky with being honest. The Par 5’s are reachable here, along with a couple of short Par 4’s too, so it’s important to take advantage and birdie these holes.”
Brit Georgia Hall who came so close in 2016 as runner-up, commented earlier this week that it would be ‘great to go one better’ and win the milestone event this year, and her round today certainly backs up her statement. The 21 year old – who currently sits just three shots off the leader after today’s round– racked up a total of seven birdies throughout her round to follow closely behind on 3-under par.
Hall said: “I played really well today, I hit loads of greens, my long game was really good, I just couldn’t hole anything on the front nine.
She added: “I could have easily hit seven-under today. The greens were a little hard to read on the front nine, because you’ve got to read the grain too but it’s a solid start for day one. I’ve played the first round now so I am off and going, hopefully I can just putt a little better tomorrow.”
The first day was a fitting start to the second edition of the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open, which remains the country’s first professional women’s golf tournament. Bright sunshine drew in the crowds, who swept through the gates and avidly followed the first day leaders around the course.
His Excellency Aref Al Awani, General Secretary at Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC), owner of the event, said: “The second edition of the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open is another step in Abu Dhabi’s journey as a global sports destination.
He added: “We’ve seen world-class action from the Ladies European Tour’s top stars today and it promises to be an inspiring and action-packed few days. We encourage everyone to come down to Saadiyat Beach Golf Club and be a part of history being made.”
Aiming to inspire and develop the next generation of Emirati golfers, the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy hosted a number of off-course events for families on the first day, including a clinic with stars Vikki Laing, Gemma Dryburgh and Justine Dreher and a golfing ladies lunch.
The Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open teed up more than just golf at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, with visitors enjoying activities such as chipping challenges, the regions first-ever ‘paint golf’, and introductory beginners’ sessions in the popular tournament village, as well as culinary delights from Theo’s Point.
The Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open is free for the public to attend and runs from Wednesday, 1st November to Saturday, 4th November, 2017 at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club.