Saudi Ladies International 2024 Tips: 100/1 shot one of four on LET

 | February 13 | 

11 mins read

Royal greens saudi

In a rare treat, our star golf tipster Jamie Worsley has previewed a LET event for us, with the Saudi Ladies International. He has picked out four each-way predictions ranging from 20/1 to 100/1. 

Saudi Ladies International Tips

  • 2 pts Carlota Ciganda each way (1/4 - 5 places) - 20/1 
  • 1.25 pts Ashleigh Buhai each way (1/4 - 5 places) - 40/1 
  • 1 pt Nanna Koertz Madsen each way (1/4 - 5 places) - 66/1
  • 0.75 pts Pauline Roussin-Bouchard each way (1/4 - 5 places) - 100/1 

The Ladies European Tour returned to action last week, as the exciting Singaporean teenager, Shannon Tan won on her tour debut in the Magical Kenya Ladies Open.

Tan is back in action this week and with the LPGA still on a break for one more week, many top players will be joining her, as a strong field heads to Riyadh Golf Club for the Saudi Ladies International.

TOURNAMENT HISTORY

The tournament was first staged in the covid-hit 2020 season and saw Emily Kristine Pedersen take down Georgia Hall in a playoff. This was the start of an incredible finish to the season for her, as she proceeded to win the following and final two events of that year.

However that - and all other previous renewals of this event - took place at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club. The event moves to Riyadh Golf Club for the first time this year.

Lydia Ko won the title in 2021, seeing off Atthaya Thitikul by five shots and was followed by Georgia Hall, who gained redemption for her 2020 playoff loss; sailing to a five-stroke victory over Johanna Gustavsson and Kristyna Napoleaova.

Lydia Ko regained the trophy for her second win last year in a more tightly-contested tournament, getting the better of India’s Aditi Ashok by a shot. Though she doesn’t return to defend this year.

THE COURSE

Riyadh Golf Club opened in 2005 and has been tweaked by Javier Farran in recent years to bring it up to tournament standards.

Though hosting this event for the first time, the course is no stranger to the players of the LET, as it hosted the Aramco Series – Riyadh event on tour last season; where Alison Lee shot an incredible 29-under-par over three rounds for the win, which included two rounds of 61.

The way Lee and many others took the venue apart there has no doubt played a part in the significant lengthening of the course for this event. This par 72 will instead play to a lengthy 6817 yards as opposed to the 6406 yards of last year; it possesses 10x par 4s (348-421 yards), 4x par 5s (555-604 yards) and 4x par 3s (136-166 yards).

This is your typically exposed and undulating middle-eastern golf course. Most holes are framed by sandy waste areas dotted with palm trees and other vegetation, with water in-play on six holes (5, 7, 8, 12, 16, 18), through manmade lakes and streams.

As you would expect, it is strongly bunkered; strategically placed to punish those wayward enough to miss the extremely generous but occasionally severely doglegging fairways, and they guard the undulating and generally large putting surfaces.

That extra 400 yards in length for this event should keep the scores down somewhat, however most of that length comes from the four par 5s, which will only be reachable for the longer hitters in the field, such as the monstrous 604-yard 2nd hole.

The par 4s still look there to be got at, with most short and attackable with strong iron play. The same could be said about the par 3s, including the 136-yard 8th hole, which requires an approach to an island green.

This leads me to thinking that scoring would still be good on this lengthier setup; although, with potentially strong winds set to arrive, players shouldn’t have it all their own way.

THE WEATHER

Warm and dry conditions are predicted throughout the week but will be accompanied by some testing wind. Over the first two rounds it is set to blow at a constant of around 18mph, with gusts up to 35mph; though dying down a touch over the weekend, gusts of 22mph will keep the competitors honest.

THE STATS

Key stats:

  • SG: Approach
  • Driving Distance
  • SG: Putting
  • Scrambling

Alison Lee destroyed the course with her powerful ball-striking game last year and with players such as Carlota Ciganda and Charley Hull in behind, we should assume length will once again be important, especially on this longer setup.

Having said that, I feel quality approach play into the large greens outweighs this in terms of importance. Most of these players will hit the fairways and it will be about how you work that magic with the wedges, not only on the shorter par 4s but on the lengthy par 5s that will require a layup for many.

Ciganda and Hull are both strong putters, so we shouldn’t sleep on the short game and with those demanding conditions, I expect there to be a greater need for a decent scrambling game this year.

CORRELATING EVENTS

The most obvious place to start here is at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club, which not only hosted the previous four editions of this event but has hosted several Aramco Series events on the tour in recent years. The two courses share the same exposed, sandy and undulating characteristics.

Those same factors are also what makes form on links courses translate well to events in the Middle East. Therefore, we can look towards editions of the Women’s Open and Women’s Scottish Open on links courses for extra clues.

Additionally, with a large group of LPGA players it may pay to look at some events stateside on the LPGA. Three which stand out in particular are the Shoprite LPGA Classic at Seaview’s Bay Course, the Mizuho Americas Open at Liberty National and the Ascendant LPGA at Old American Golf Club. Each course is generally exposed and susceptible to windy conditions.

THE FIELD

Charley Hull is the highest ranking player in the field at #8 and though she’s the only player from inside the world’s top 10, there is a good deal of depth here; with a further six from inside the top 25 and fifteen from the top 50, including LPGA stars Lexi Thompson, Leona Maguire and Ariya Jutanugarn.

There are two former winners in attendance, in the shape of 2020 winner Emily Kristine Pedersen and 2022 champion Georgia Hall; and though Alison Lee doesn’t return to the scene of her win last year, runner-up there, Carlota Ciganda will be trying to go one better.

The leading player on the LET last year, Thailand’s Trichat Cheenglab tees it up in her first start of the year and 2022’s leading light, Linn Grant also makes the trip over from the LPGA.

They are joined by some of the top players from the Japanese and Korean tours, such as two-time Women’s Open winner, Jiyai Shin and Jinhee Im, who ranked 2nd in Japan and Korea last year respectively.

SELECTIONS

Market leaders: Lexi Thompson 10/1, Charley Hull 12/1, Jiyai Shin 12/1, Linn Grant 16/1

There were a few near the top end of the betting who appealed this week, particularly Sweden’s Linn Grant, who has looked solid at the start of the year. However, at a bigger price than her in the market is last year’s runner-up Carlota Ciganda, who can use her power and excellent short game to go one better this time around.

2 pts Carlota Ciganda each way (1/4 - 5 places) - 20/1 

The Spaniard had a great year in 2023. Aside from her starring role in the European Solheim Cup team, she won a seventh LET title in the Aramco Series – Florida and recorded several other top 5 finishes, including matching her best major performance with a 3rd-place finish in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

Though missing the cut on her first start of the season in the LPGA Drive On Championship, she did improve by four strokes in her second round and with the cobwebs blown away, she should be raring to go in the Middle East.

Ciganda may not have been a match for the inspired Alison Lee here last year but she played excellently to finish a clear 2nd, three strokes ahead of Charley Hull in 3rd.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise for a player who showed little in the way of weakness in 2023; particularly excelling off-the-tee and on the greens but was a strong top 25 in scrambling and produced solid numbers in approach.

Ciganda’s suitability to this course is further emphasised by three other top 5s in Saudi at Royal Greens G&CC and two top 5s in the Women’s Scottish Open.

ciganda

1.25 pts Ashleigh Buhai each way (1/4 - 5 places) - 40/1 

Ashleigh Buhai has become somewhat of a specialist on open, linksy courses and as one of the strongest iron players on the LPGA in 2023, she can handle Riyadh GC on her first try.

The South African enjoyed another positive year last year, gaining her first win in the US at the Shoprite LPGA Classic; then finishing the year by getting the better of a quality field in the Women’s Australian Open.

She made a solid enough start to this year, playing well for three rounds in the Tournament of Champions before a final-round 76 dropped her to 22nd. Though it was a positive to see her show signs across her game.

Whilst not a big hitter, Buhai makes up for it with one of the best approach games around, ranking 4th on the LPGA last season. This will be a big asset in Riyadh and with that win in the Shoprite, as well as her 2022 Women’s Open win at Muirfield, signalling how well matched she is to this challenge, she looked an attractive price this week.

buhai let

1 pt Nanna Koertz Madsen each way (1/4 - 5 places) - 66/1

After enduring a largely fruitless 2023, Nanna Madsen has looked much improved in the early part of 2024 and coming to this suitable setup, this big hitter can keep it moving in the right direction.

Madsen missed nine of twenty-six cuts last year but did little when getting to the weekend, recording just one top 5 – albeit an encouraging piece of form for this test when 4th in the Shoprite Classic – and just one additional top 20.

Her tee-to-green game was poor, with the putter doing most of the good work but whilst she is still looking strong on the greens this year, she is matching it with some improved tee-to-green displays. Which has brought about better results.

The Dane started with a 2-over 74 in the Tournament of Champions but bounced back over the next three rounds to finish 12th. She led the field on the greens there but also produced some high-class ball-striking over the final three rounds; carrying this onto the LPGA Drive on Championship on her latest start, where she finished 23rd and produced her best approach performance since June last year.

That standout approach display of 2023 came in her aforementioned 4th-place finish in the Shoprite Classic and with her correlating form enhanced by top 5s in the Women’s Open and Women’s Scottish Open, Madsen was a must bet this week.

nanna madsen

0.75 pts Pauline Roussin-Bouchard each way (1/4 - 5 places) - 100/1 

Classy former #1 amateur, Pauline Roussin-Bouchard lost her LPGA card after her second year on tour in 2023. Back to the LET, she should enjoy the return to calmer waters and with a 15th-place finish in this event last year giving reason for optimism, she was a tempting each-way price this week.

The Frenchwoman actually made a blistering start to 2023, finishing 18th in this event at Royal Greens and following by winning a second LET title in the Aramco Series – Singapore event; beating off Danielle Kang by four strokes, with other stars such as Lydia Ko and Linn Grant even further behind.

With that, it was a surprise that she couldn’t carry that over to the LPGA, where she missed ten cuts in eighteen starts and recorded a solitary top 10 of 8th in the Meijer LPGA Classic.

The main reason for these underwhelming results was her struggles with the putter, as she went from ranking 19th on the greens in her promising rookie season in 2022, to ranking outside the top 100 last year. Though she had started to regain a little consistency towards the end of the year with the club and the hope is that she’s found more in the off-season.

Roussin-Bouchard is a quality, long driver and used this to finish 15th at Riyadh Golf Club last year. There, she recovered from a slow start to shoot rounds of 66 and 65 over the rest of the event and if able to get off on the right foot this week, she has proven capable of going low enough to contend.

bouchard

You can find all Jamie's latest Golf Betting Tips over on our dedicated golf Insights hub.

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