Pro who learned her golf in Riyadh returns for historic tournament

Pro who learned her golf in Riyadh returns for historic tournament
England’s Georgia Coughlin in action during the Aramco Saudi Ladies International golf tournament. (Supplied)
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Updated 20 November 2020

Pro who learned her golf in Riyadh returns for historic tournament

Pro who learned her golf in Riyadh returns for historic tournament
  • Coughlin was 3 years old when she was brought to Riyadh by her father, Richard, who was working for BAE Systems
  • Living in the Arizona Golf Compound near Riyadh with her parents, it was natural for Coughlin to be attracted to golf

KING ABDULLAH ECONOMIC CITY: A British expatriate’s daughter has returned to Saudi Arabia to witness history in women’s golf week in the Kingdom.

Georgia Coughlin, from Blackpool, England, is one among a contingent of Ladies European Tour (LET) players out there on the fairways at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club.

“It’s amazing. I can’t believe the opportunities that Golf Saudi and Aramco have given us,” 25-year-old Coughlin said when she spoke to Arab News after the second round of the Saudi Ladies Team International on Wednesday.

The 54-hole tournament that ended on Thursday capped a week that began with the staging of the Kingdom’s first professional women’s golf tournament, the $1 million Aramco Saudi Ladies International, won by Denmark’s Emily Kristine Pedersen in a playoff against Georgia Hall of England on Sunday.

Coughlin said she was a three-year-old toddler when she was brought to Riyadh by her father, Richard, who was working for BAE Systems.

“My mom and dad have been in Riyadh for 22 years now,” added Coughlin.

When she was about five years old she returned to England, and then came back to Riyadh when “I was 14 or 15 to do my exams at the British International School.”

Living in the Arizona Golf Compound near Riyadh with her parents, it was natural for Coughlin to be attracted to golf.

“My villa was on a nine-hole golf course in the Arizona compound. I just used to go out and play on my own. I became a member of Riyadh Golf Club (RGC) and Dirab Ladies Group. We had quite a few lady amateurs there and I used to play with them probably three or four times a week,” said Coughlin.

Coughlin became well known in the local golf community — beating opponents twice her age and winning tournaments at RGC and Dirab Golf & Country Club.

Getting more serious about her golf at 16, Coughlin began taking lessons with the Tunisian PGA-licensed instructor Salem Ayari, who is now one of the five teaching pros at Riyadh Golf Course.

“She’s good, has a very strong short game. I am proud of her, and I know she needs a good caddie to give her a push,” said Ayari of his talented former pupil.

“I wish her luck in her professional career,” added Ayari, whose wife Ghozlene Ayari won the 2019 Pan Arab Women’s Golf Championship but did not have the chance to defend her title due to the pandemic this year.

The interesting part in the Coughlin narrative is that she is a classic example of a golfer in the community who succeeded in making the giant leap to the big leagues.

“Once I started to get a lot better at golf, I thought I could try and compete. I went to Qualifying School and ended up playing well, and that’s how I knew I could compete out here,” said Coughlin, who earned her LET playing card in 2018.

But as she points out: “If it wasn’t for Saudi Arabia, where I picked up that golf club, I wouldn’t be here right now.”


Juventus, Inter play catch-up on AC Milan before big European games

Updated 05 December 2020

Juventus, Inter play catch-up on AC Milan before big European games

Juventus, Inter play catch-up on AC Milan before big European games
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s Rossoneri are targeting their first Serie A title since 2011

MILAN, Italy: Juventus host city rivals Torino on Saturday looking to close the gap on high-flying Serie A leaders AC Milan before next week’s final Champions League group clash at Barcelona.

The Italian champions are fourth in the table, six points behind Milan, who head to Sampdoria on Sunday looking to extend their unbeaten run in the league.

Second-placed Inter Milan, five points adrift on their city rivals, host Bologna, days before their Champions League hopes will be decided in a must-win game against Shakhtar Donesk at the San Siro.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s Milan are targeting their first Serie A title since 2011, when the Swede last played for the club.

Ibrahimovic has missed their last two games including their Europa League win over Celtic with a muscular injury and will be sidelined for the trip to 11th-placed Sampdoria.

But while Milan have shown they can win without their star striker, who leads the Serie A scoring charts with 10 goals, Juve are reliant on Cristiano Ronaldo.

BACKGROUND

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has missed their last two games including their Europa League win over Celtic with a muscular injury and will be sidelined for the trip to 11th-placed Sampdoria.

They have drawn five of nine games played this season including last weekend’s 1-1 against Benevento when Ronaldo was rested.

They have drawn five of nine games played this season including last weekend’s 1-1 against Benevento when Ronaldo was rested.

The Portugal forward will return for the derby along with Paulo Dybala, but Spain attacker Alvaro Morata sits out due to a two-match suspension.

Torino coach Marco Giampoalo has recovered from coronavirus as his 18th-placed side seek a first top-flight win at Juve since April 1995.

Milan head to Genoa looking to keep their unbeaten league run, and after qualifying for the Europa League knockout rounds.

“Ibra is an important player, even when he is not playing, he’s a leader,” said Pioli.

“But we have shown we have many solutions.”

Sassuolo are third, equal on points with Inter after suffering their first defeat of the season to Conte’s side last time out.

The side from Emilia-Romagna face a tough trip to sixth-placed Roma, whose seven-match unbeaten run ended in Napoli last weekend.

Napoli, in fifth, travel to promoted Crotone, as they push for a first league title since the days of Diego Maradona in 1990, to honour the memory of the Argentina legend.

Eighth-placed Atalanta go to Udinese before their Champions League trip to Ajax, with Lazio, just behind, playing at promoted Spezia before hosting Club Brugge.

Captain Andrea Belotti needs one more goal to reach his 100th Torino goal.

Belotti, 26, has accounted for seven of his struggling side’s 16 goals this season and they have six points from nine games.

The Italy forward joined the club in 2015, scoring a career-high 26 league goals the following campaign.