Popov Out In Front As Team Linnea Strom Leads Aramco Team Series

Sophia Popov is three clear in the individual tournament at the Aramco Team Series, with the team lead being taken by Linnea Strom's team

Sweden's Linnea Strom holds her finish
(Ladies European Tour)

Sophia Popov is three clear in the individual tournament at the Aramco Team Series, with the team lead being taken by Linnea Strom's team

Day one of the Aramco Team Series in New York brought plenty of excitement, including a 15- foot birdie putt (net eagle) on the final hole from amateur Cho Minn Thant which catapulted the Linnea Strom team to 18-under after a bogey-free first round performance.

In this unique team event, which includes three pros and one amateur for each foursome, the teams take their combined two best scores on each hole (with the amateurs playing off their indexes).

Team Strom holds a two-shot lead over Sophia Popov’s team at 16-under and England’s Bronte Law has her team at 15-under and in third place.

A shot further back sits Team Jessica Korda at 14-under.

The 28-year-old is playing in her first of these Aramco events and is enjoying the team format this week.

“It’s fun, weird but fun because you don’t get to pick up when you’re out of the hole because there’s still an individual competition going on so you can’t be as aggressive as you want to be,” the veteran of three Solheim Cups said.

(Tristan Jones/Ladies European Tour)

“It’s fun and it was a cool experience to be able to pick one teammate and then get shuffled another one and an amateur as well,” Korda said of the event’s draft on Tuesday when she and the 27 other captains made picks out of the field.

Related: Leader Sophia Popov enjoying unique Aramco Team Series format

Fellow American and Major champ Danielle Kang also had a good day at Glen Oaks Club.

She fired a 4-under 68 to sit tied for second and three behind Popov in the individual event.

“It was a lot of fun out there, I’ve never played this format but I like playing in a team where birdies mean you get fist-bumps, which I love!” Kang said.

“Aramco has started something really cool for the LET, so I was excited to come here and see how it was panning out.

"It’s bringing in the viewership and getting ladies golf the attention it deserves, so I’m really thankful for Aramco for giving us this stage.”

Bronte Law’s team, composed of her good friends Kelsey Macdonald and Amy Boulden, had a good day to stand third and Law likes how the tournament format creates camaraderie.

“We played great as a team, if someone had a birdie on one hole, someone would step up on another and make a birdie – and that’s the best thing for this sort of format, spreading out the birdies,” Law said.

“We also had a great amateur and we’re just hoping to do the same again tomorrow.”

Related: 'Great for the younger girls to play with older players' - Catriona Matthew

Garrett Johnston is a reporter and presenter based in Washington, DC. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnstonGarrett. He also hosts the Beyond the Clubhouse podcast.

Garrett Johnston

Garrett Johnston is a golf reporter and presenter who’s covered pro golf for 12 years including over 30 majors. His goal each year is always to “grow with the rookies” on Tour. The idea is to get to know the superstars before they become household names. Tony Finau, Gary Woodland, and Patrick Reed are just some of the players Johnston has covered from their early pro careers for their hometown newspapers. Johnston’s favorite event is always The Open, and he credits his unforgettable experience covering the 2015 Open at St. Andrews where he got to interview Tom Watson (in his final Open) and winner Zach Johnson exclusively throughout the week as his favorite event so far. Johnston has also developed a strong rapport with Tour caddies and regularly contributes to Caddie Network and Golf.com. He also has his own podcast: Beyond The Clubhouse