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Manon De Roey defies brutal conditions to take opening day lead at Aramco Team Series – New York

NEW YORK: Belgium’s Manon De Roey has taken the individual lead in the opening round of the Aramco Team Series – New York, as the world’s top golfers battled the wind in the Ladies European Tour event.

De Roey, who clinched her first LET title win at the Aramco Team Series – Bangkok earlier this season, was flawless with a bogey-free round of 68 to finish on four under par.

Only four players at Trump Golf Links were able to shoot under par with better conditions expected on Friday and Saturday for a course favoring the long hitters.

“I’m very pleased with my score today,” said De Roey.

“It was tough out there. We had some rain, strong winds and just tried to keep it together for the team as well — being bogey-free today which is nice. I knew today was going to be tricky but I think for the next few days it’s going to be sunny and 19 degrees, so I’m looking forward to that. It can only get better from today, so I’m looking forward to it,” added the 30-year-old Belgian.

De Roey is in fourth place on the LET’s Race to Costa Del Sol standings following a good showing in New York that contributed to valuable points, with just three tournaments to go in the 2022 season.

Nelly Korda, champion at the last Aramco Team Series event in Spain, sits behind De Roey after a two under par round of 70. The American world No. 4 showed her class in the wind on her back nine — with her group of Noora Komulainen, Celine Herbin and amateur James Rawson in the team event also in second place.

“The weather wasn’t that great so we were all saving each other and thankfully we all had each other’s back,” said Korda.

“We played pretty well today. It was pretty windy and then it started kind of raining toward the start of our back nine and it stopped around … the 14th and the wind died.”

Talented 18-year-old rising star Pia Babnik joins Korda on two under par with four birdies and just the one bogey on her second hole in a controlled round of golf.

“I tried to really keep my ball flight much lower in the wind — I definitely needed to make some adjustments,” said Babnik.

Team Leona Maguire leads the way in the two-day team competition on 11 under par alongside Liz Young, Tvesa Malik and former NFL star Golden Tate — winner of Super Bowl XLVIII with the Seattle Seahawks.

Irish star Maguire said: “It’s a good test out there and was playing long with lots of woods and hybrids needed. It will be a little kinder tomorrow and we can make plenty of birdies to keep it going.”

Team Pelaez Trivino are just one back led by captain Ana Pelaez alongside Nicole Garcia, Emma Grechi and amateur Michael Singer.

“It’s really important to be patient around this course and because sometimes you’re not going to hit the best shot and you’re not going to have the best bounce and stuff like that,” said Pelaez.

Native New Yorker Annie Park enjoyed her day on the links and first experience of the unique team and individual event.

“This is my first time playing at this golf course and it felt like I was in Scotland today with the golf course and the weather. This is such an individual sport, and to have a little bit of a team aspect into it, I think it’s fantastic with a lot on the line which is individual and team.”

There is a new format this year for the Aramco Team Series where the teams will compete over only 36 holes — the Thursday and Friday of the tournament — with $500,000 in prize money being split between the lowest-scoring fourballs.

Saturday’s final day of play will see only the lowest-scoring 60 players and ties from the opening two days return to the course to battle it out for a share of another $500,000, this time in individual earnings.

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