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Pia Babnik excited to defend individual title in Jeddah finale of Aramco Team Series

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One of the most exciting golf events on the schedule returns to Saudi Arabia over the weekend of November 9, as the Aramco Team Series reaches its final leg.

There is great excitement among all players involved, but few players will be as happy to return to the course as Pia Babnik, as the defending champion looks to land a second straight victory in the event. But, what should golf fans be aware of this weekend, and how does the competition work?

How Does The Aramco Team Series Work?

The Aramco Team Series has grown in popularity throughout its short history, which led to the 2021 season being expanded. Nowadays, there are events held across the globe, with competitions also taking place in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Spain. All events on the circuit boast a purse of $1 million, with the event in Saudi Arabia being the final event of the series.

It is an interesting concept for fans, as players compete in individual and team competitions. In total, there are 36 teams, with each consisting of three professionals and one amateur player. Drafts are used to form the teams, with the captains being the highest-seeded players in the rankings.

Previous Aramco Team Series Events This Season

The first Aramco Team Series of the season took place in Bangkok in May, with Manon De Roey claiming victory by three shots from Johanna Gustavsson. A team made up of Whitney Hillier, Chonlada Chayanun, Krista Bakker and Pattanan Amatanon won the team event in Thailand by three shots.

The action moved to London in the middle of June, with Bronte Law taking a home success after finishing one shot clear of compatriot Georgia Hall. Success in the team event was claimed by Nicole Garcia, Kelly Whaley, Madelene Stavnar, and Mia Baker, who won a playoff in England.

Spain took center stage in the Aramco Team Series in August, with one of the best players in the world taking her team to glory in Sotogrande. Jessica Korda was in fine form, as she led Noora Komulainen, Tereza Melecka, and Malcolm Borwock to a win by one shot. The individual event was also won by Kelly Korda, as she finished three shots clear.

The penultimate event on the Aramco Team Series schedule was staged in New York in the middle of October. There would be further American success, as Lexi Thompson finished three shots clear of Brooke Henderson and Madelene Sagstrom. Meanwhile, the team event was won by Johanna Gustavsson, Jessica Karlsson, Karolin Lampert, and Jennifer Rosenberg.

Golf Betting Information

Like all golf events, the Aramco Team Series is a huge betting event for golf fans and attracts many bettors from the Arabic regions. Some of the largest betting operators, including 888sport, 10Bet, and BetFinal even offer special campaigns to Saudi Arabian betters in Arabic. Betting markets are available on the outright winner of the event, as well as the leaders on each of the respective days that are competed. Meanwhile, bettors can also wager on whether a hole-in-one will be scored at the event this year.

Aramco Team Series Jeddah Information

The final leg of the Aramco Team Series gets underway on November 9, with the team finale reaching its conclusion the following day. Meanwhile, the individual action will run until November 11. This event will take place at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club, which is a prestigious 18-hold championship course offering picturesque views of the Red Sea coastline.

The event was won in 2021 by Pia Babnik, as she finished one shot clear of Olivia Cowan with an Aramco Team Series record aggregate score of 200. Babnik will once again be a leading contender for the event this year, as she looks for a famous second victory in the event in Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Emily Kristine Pederson was the winning captain in the team event last year, and she could have a fine chance in the individual event in 2022.

Conclusion

The Aramco Team Series is one of the most interesting events on the women’s golfing calendar, as there is both competitive team and individual action taking place. This year’s event promises to be no different, and fans of the sport can get involved in the action by placing wagers with some of the most trusted sportsbooks available online.

Recommended reading: 6 facts about Saudi Arabia’s First Grand Prix in Jeddah

 

 

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Alberta

Rookie goalie Jaxson Stauber in form as Blackhawks dump Flames 5-1

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By Darren Haynes in Calgary

Rookie goaltender Jaxson Stauber made it two wins in as many career starts by making 34 stops on Thursday to help the Chicago Blackhawks to a 5-1 victory over the Calgary Flames.

Taylor Raddysh, Boris Katchouk, Jason Dickinson, Sam Lafferty and Connor Murphy, into an empty net, scored for Chicago (15-28-4), which entered the game last in the NHL’s overall standings. Max Domi had an assist to extend his point streak to four games (one goal, three assists).

Jonathan Huberdeau scored for Calgary (23-17-9). The Flames sit outside of a playoff spot in the Western Conference after last season finishing atop the Pacific Division.

Markstrom had 24 stops for the Flames. Winless in his last four decisions (0-3-1), his record fell to 13-13-5. That’s 10 times this season Markstrom has received one or no goals for support.

With Alex Stalock (concussion) out, Stauber made his NHL debut on Saturday in a 5-3 win in St. Louis.

The undrafted 23-year-old is in his first pro season after signing as a free agent last March after playing the previous two years with Providence College. He began the season with AHL Rockford.

Tied 1-1 after 20 minutes, Chicago seized control in the second period with three unanswered goals.

At 9:39, Katchouk one-timed a pass from Luke Philp past Markstrom, who was screened.

Chicago made it a two-goal lead at 15:37 when both Flames defencemen Nikita Zadorov and MacKenzie Weeger went to Patrick Kane, leaving the middle of the ice open. Kane’s pass sent Dickenson in alone and he beat Markstrom over his shoulder.

Just 30 seconds later, another defensive miscue from the Flames resulted in a two-on-one rush with Colin Blackwell setting up Lafferty for his eighth goal of the season.

The Flames outshot the visitors 18-6 in the third period, but couldn’t beat Stauber. The scattered booing from disgruntled fans throughout the stanza was at its loudest at the final buzzer as Calgary players left the ice.

In a listless first period from the home side, Chicago scored first at 17:47 when Raddysh beat Markstrom under his arm.

The Flames would tie it in the final minute. Huberdeau took a pass from Kadri and made a slick move to tuck the puck behind Stauber.

 

TOEWS AND TANEV OUT

Both teams were without key players. Calgary defenceman Chris Tanev (upper body) was out. His spot was taken by Connor Mackey, a healthy scratch the last 16 games.

Chicago was without captain Jonathan Toews (non-COVID illness). Philp was inserted into the lineup and recorded his first NHL point.

MILESTONE FOR TOFFOLI

Tyler Toffoli played in the 700th game of his career. He has played 86 games for the Flames.

Toffoli has also played for Los Angeles (515), Vancouver (10) and Montreal (89).

 

UP NEXT

Blackhawks: Wrap up a three-game road trip on Saturday in Edmonton.

Flames: Are back in action Friday night in Seattle.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2023.

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International

Russia’s path to 2024 Olympics takes shape, Ukraine objects

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Russia’s path to sending a team to the Paris Olympics next year became clearer on Thursday amid fierce objections from Ukraine.

The International Olympic Committee indicated on Wednesday it favors officially neutral teams from Russia and its ally Belarus at the 2024 Olympics despite a plea from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to exclude them entirely.

A day later, Russia and Belarus were invited to compete at the Asian Games, a key Olympic qualifier.

Russia typically competes as part of Europe but has a tense relationship with many of the countries set to host qualifying events there. Russia and Belarus have been barred from almost all international competitions in Olympic sports following the invasion of Ukraine.

Zelenskyy has said he told French President Emmanuel Macron, whose country is hosting the Olympics, that Russia should have “no place” there. Ukraine is seeking to rally support against the IOC-brokered plan.

“IOC has been disregarding Russian war crimes, claiming that ‘No athlete should be prevented from competing just because of their passport’, while Ukrainian athletes continue to be killed by Russia because of their passports. I urge all sports figures to make their stance known,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

Ukraine boycotted an Olympic qualifier in judo last year when Russians were allowed to compete as neutrals.

In Russia, there was praise from the IOC plan from Igor Levitin, an aide to President Vladimir Putin who holds influential government and sports posts.

“I think it is already a success. Olympic society understands that the Olympic Games cannot be staged without Russia,” said Levitin, who is the senior vice-president of the Russian Olympic Committee, in comments reported by state news agency Tass.

Some Russian officials expressed unhappiness at the IOC declaring it would not allow athletes found to be “actively supporting the war in Ukraine.” Russian Olympic Committee president Stanislav Pozdnyakov said on Wednesday he opposed “any restrictions, extra requirements or sanctions.”

The IOC statement on Wednesday referenced the civil war in the former Yugoslavia at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. The country was under United Nations sanctions so Yugoslav athletes were allowed to compete individually only as “Independent Olympic Participants.” They didn’t take part in team sports such as soccer and basketball.

That would be stricter than previous IOC measures against Russia in the years-long fallout from one of the largest doping cases in sports history. Russians competed under the name “Olympic Athlete from Russia” at the 2018 Winter Olympics and as ROC — short for Russian Olympic Committee — in 2021 and 2022, without their country’s anthem or flag but with national colors on uniforms.

The Asian Games will be in Hangzhou, China, in September and October, and function as Olympic qualifiers in several sports including archery and boxing. Some other sports host their own Asia-specific qualifying competitions.

“The OCA believes in the unifying power of sport and that all athletes, regardless of their nationality or the passport they hold, should be able to compete in sports competitions,” the OCA said in a statement.

The long-time director general of Kuwait-based OCA, Husain al-Musallam, is also the president of World Aquatics, which is overseeing the core Olympic sport of swimming in the IOC home city Lausanne.

“The OCA has offered to give eligible Russian and Belarusian athletes the opportunity to take part in competitions in Asia, including the Asian Games,” the organization said.

The OCA added it “remains on standby” until the IOC and the individual sports’ governing bodies finalize the conditions for Russia and Belarus to compete.

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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