STA, 2 November 2020 - Slovenia's Ana Belac has won the women's Carolina Classic golf tournament to achieve by far the greatest success for Slovenian golf ever and come very close to making it to the world elite in the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA).
The 23-year-old Portorož native finished first at the US$200,000 tournament in the Pinehurst resort near Fayetteville, North Carolina, in what is her first season among professional female golfers.
Belac led at the tournament from start to finish, leaving the closest competitor, Allison Emrey of the US, four shots behind.
With the first title for Slovenian golf at professional tournaments, she has taken the second place in the overall rankings of the Symetra Tour, which is the entry point for the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA).
Belac's result is seen as an exceptional achievement in the Symetra Tour, as this was only her eighth tournament among professionals since she finished her studies at Duke University in April.
After Saturday's win, Belac told the STA that making it to the LPGA Tour was only the first of her career goals, as the final one is to become the best female golfer in the world.
While virtually securing a ticket for the LPGA Tour, where an average prize money for a single tournament is US$2 million, she has also been invited to the US Open championship in Houston in December.
"I wanted to win and I knew I could win. This time I practically played on the home court, on which I have trained a lot with the university, so I was more confident and determined to show what I can do," Belac added.
One of the three Slovenian women with the status of professional golf player, along Katja Pogačar and Pia Babnik, who mostly play in Europe, was not bothered by the strong wind and rain in the last two days of the tournament.
"Other players were complaining over the conditions in which they had to play, while I enjoyed myself and played my game. The experience from Europe, meaning the bora wind around Lipica, where I started my golf career, certainly helped me."
Royal Bled already appears on the list of the best and most beautiful golf courses in the region of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, and now it has another recognition, named as among golfscape’s top 100 courses in the world. The largest and oldest course in the country comes in at #86, just after The Blue Monster at Trump National Doral Miami, USA, and before Golf de Spérone, France.
Once again it’s the beauty of the area that catches the imagination of the authors, with the noting “the course is flanked by towering mountains and the impressive valleys of the Alps. With excellently manicured grounds, many hail it as one of the most beautiful courses in all of Europe.”
If you’d like to play a round at Royal Bled then note that it’s open from March to November, with both 18- and 9-hole course, and due to its status and appeal is one of the pricier golfing options in the country – but you get what you pay for. The website is here, while our look at all the 6-, 9- and 18-hole courses in Slovenia is here.
STA, 22 April 2019 - Pia Babnik, a 15-year-old Slovenian golf player, has won a major tournament in Scotland as she affirmed her status as one of the best up-and-coming female players in Europe.
Babnik took home the Helen Holm Scottish Women's Open Championship over the weekend with a seven-shot win over France's Charlotte Bunel.
Ranked 37th in the global standings of amateur golfers, Babnik led the field from day one with an opening round of 66 at the Royal Troon golf course.
In the end, she had a seven-shot margin over France's Charlotte Bunel and a record 15-under aggregate.
BBC reported that the teenager is now targeting a return to Scotland for September's Junior Solheim Cup, the youth version of the team event pitting Europe against the US.
"For me, it would be a very special day to be part of the European team," Babnik told the BBC.
The Courier, a UK news portal, said the spectators may have been "early witnesses to a new phenomenon in golf".
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