Kelly Whaley sets new Ladies European Tour record with 8 consecutive birdies at Aramco Saudi Ladies International

eshrag News:

JEDDAH: Breakout US golf star Kelly Whaley set a new Ladies European Tour record with an incredible eight birdies in a row on Sunday’s final day at the Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by Public Investment Fund.

The 24-year-old went -8 from the fourth hole through 11, en route to equaling Royal Greens’ course-record 63.

It was the first time in history any player has bagged more than seven consecutive birdies in a regular season LET event.

Whaley, who turned pro in 2019 and was competing in her first event outside the States, said: “It is the best round I’ve ever had in a tournament. My whole goal today was to just enjoy it and have fun, being my first international professional event. I’ve never had eight birdies in a row. That’s something memorable for anyone.”

“Once I made about four or five, I said, ‘OK, you’re in it now — you can’t stop’. So, I just kept giving myself opportunities and it was a lot of fun,” she said. “I think in these situations pressure can get to you, and it becomes almost daunting, but I really approached today trying to just enjoy every shot and find something about every hole that I loved, whether it be the view or just something else. It was just a really memorable day.”

Breaking down her incredible run of eight on the bounce, the Floridian explained: “The par-5s out here I really tried to take advantage of. I birdied both of them, holes four and nine, where they’d moved the tees a little bit, making it a little more reachable for me today. Those were nice.

“The really nice ones were ten and 11. The back nine are tricky, and the winds tend to pick up,” said Whaley. “The pins were tucked today, and they were hard. I really trusted my yardages. On 11, I stuck it to eight feet, and on 10 I stuck it to less than a foot. I mean, those are nice because you get up there and you’re like, ‘Oh, OK, a tap-in’.”

“I was just proud of myself. I stuck to my game plan and hit some really close shots.”

Before today, the LET record of seven in a row was shared by Linda Wessberg (SWE), Marine Monnet-Melocco (FRA), Nicole Garcia (RSA), Kristie Smith (AUS) and Stacey Lewis (US).

England’s Bronte Law made a sequence of nine back-to-back birdies at LET Q-School in 2018, but not during a regular season event.

Asked how it feels to be a record-holder, Whaley, who plays on the Epson Tour and was an invite to this week’s $1 million Jeddah event — won by England’s Georgia Hall — said: “It’s great! Any record you break, you want to stay there. The athlete in me just wants to break it more.”

Whaley’s birdie storm propelled her to a sixth-placed finish in Saudi Arabia, a cheque for $31,000, and a share of the course record at Royal Greens.

However, she still believes that her final-round score could have been even better.

“I left some out there, but I’m thrilled, don’t get me wrong. I would say, even though I had a great score, there were some clubs that weren’t dialed in, and I had some mistakes,” Whaley said. “I left one in the bunker on 17 and had to kind of grind it out. So even though you have the best round of your career, there’s still mistakes, which is just the crazy part about this game. It was a good learning experience, for sure.”

Whaley — the daughter of former PGA of America President, Suzy Whaley — said: “I got here Tuesday morning, and we came here right away. This is the most beautiful course I’ve played tournament golf on this year or last year. It’s just so special. I was telling Golf Saudi and Aramco they put on an amazing event. I hope I get the opportunity to play more because this was special, and I know all the girls really appreciate everything.”

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