Slovenia’s Pia Babnik produced a scintillating course-record round of 63 (-9) to take a commanding five-shot lead at the Lavaux Ladies Open from France’s Agathe Sauzon at 12-under-par.
At only 16-years-old, Babnik is still in high-school but has regularly featured on both LET and LETAS leaderboards over the past few months after turning professional earlier this year. However, this will be the first time she has slept on a final round overnight lead with the likes of LET players Sauzon, Magdalena Simmermacher and Sanna Nuutinen breathing down her neck.
In search of her maiden Tour victory, the Slovenian star has finished no worse than 18th in the five events she has participated in and amassed a monumental seven consecutive wins on mini-tours in Slovenia, Germany and the Czech Republic during COVID-19 lockdown.
When asked about what clicked at Golf de Lavaux today, Babnik said, “I just played like I have been over the last few events but this time the putts went in. I’ve been really patient on the greens and it was nice to see it pay off today. The course condition is fantastic and that really helped me.”
Backing up the promise she showed as an amateur which saw her win the Girls Amateur Championship and the prestigious Helen Holm trophy before competing in the 2019 PING Junior Solheim Cup, Babnik signed for a 10-under-par round earlier in the season but admitted,
“This might be the second-best score of my year, but it is in an important tournament, so I am really pleased with my performance today. I am trying to make the best score that I can, wherever I play, and I love playing as much as possible.”
Starting the day at three-under-par, Babnik raced to the turn in 31 strokes to take the outright lead and didn’t look back, recording four consecutive birdies from Nos. 4-7 and another at the ninth hole. She went on to add a further four birdies on the back nine to match her nine pars and complete an excellent day of work.
Accompanied by her Father who is on the bag this week, Babnik added, “My Dad is here with me again, he is so helpful with everything from the yardages to keeping me focused and I can’t wait to go out there tomorrow and try and win my first LETAS event.”
In pursuit of the teen sensation, overnight leader Sauzon shot a commendable round of 71 (-1) to sit in solo second place at seven-under-par despite dropping a few strokes coming in while Argentinian Simmermacher is a shot further adrift after a brace of 69’s puts her at six-under-par.
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