Aramco Team Series unlocks new horizons with ‘game-changing’ expansion into Asia

Moriya Jutanugarn picks Catriona Matthew in headline pairing for $1m Aramco Team Series – Bangkok

BANGKOK: Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn will partner up with Solheim Cup star Catriona Matthew in one of the headline fourballs at this week’s Aramco Team Series – Bangkok.

She used her captain’s pick in Tuesday night’s pre-tournament draft to recruit the Scot, an 11-time Tour champion and Major-winner, but perhaps most revered for her back-to-back roles captaining Team Europe to Solheim Cup success.

Spanish Ladies European Tour rookie Sun Marfa Sans will complete the professional side of the team with the addition of an amateur golfer before play gets underway at the Thai Country Club on Thursday.

“Playing in my home country is very exciting,” said Jutanugarn, who is making her second appearance in an Aramco Team Series event. “I wanted to pick the legend Catriona as she’ll make me feel a lot more calm – maybe I can learn from her as well. I’m really happy with my team. For us, I think it’s just a case of going out, enjoying it, and having fun. If we do, I’m sure we’ll be good!”

Patty Tanakakit

Asked if her captain for the week, the world’s No. 50, was a player she respected, Matthew said: “Oh, absolutely! I’ve played a lot with Moriya on the LPGA over the years. I haven’t seen her in a wee while, so I’m delighted to be playing together and being able to catch up.”

Jutanugarn was one pick earlier in the draft than her younger sister, Ariya, who is competing in the same Bangkok event, which has been added to the LET calendar for the first time this year.

Ariya, like her sister, used her captain’s selection to recruit a Scot – Laura Beveridge. Anne-Charlotte Mora of France was the third addition to the team. Asked about her captain’s pick, the two-time Major-winner said: “I’ve not known so much about Laura, but I had been looking at all the stats before picking her, so I’m pretty sure she’s going to help the team. Already we’re having so much fun, talking about what we’re going to eat today, and where the good Thai food is! I’m pretty sure we’re going to be a good team.”

This week’s debut Bangkok leg will be the first of five $1 million Aramco Team Series tournaments on the LET calendar for 2022 – and the first with the three-day event’s new format.

Updated from last year’s inaugural Series, the teams will now compete over only 36 holes – the Thursday and Friday of the tournament – ​​with $500,000 prize money 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.

Big names set to compete with the likes of the Jutanugarn sisters include fellow Thai superstar Patty Tavatanakit, who selected Finland’s Noora Komulainen as her captain’s pick – and who returns home to compete ranked as the world No. 13.

England’s Charley Hull has a blistering Aramco Team Series record, with three top 10 team finishes and a solo victory in last year’s New York event. She chose good friend and fellow English golfer Lauren Taylor as her teammate for the week’s fourball action.

Australia’s Whitney Hillier leaned on her mother’s Thai heritage to recruit Chonlada Chayanun, whose home course is this week’s host course.

The Aramco Team Series — Bangkok kicks off a run of ATS events for the 2022 season and is followed by four more $1 million tournaments in London, Sotogrande, New York, and Jeddah.

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