Alison Lee points the way to NY after claiming her first pro win in Spain. Tristan Jones
The pioneering Aramco Team Series is headed to leafy Long Island
Tim Shifflett, the head professional at New York’s Glen Oaks Club since 2001, isn’t a huge fan of the comparison but the lofty billing has proved impossible to shake.
The private layout in the village of Old Westbury has been described as “the Augusta of the North” thanks to its leafy routing and superb conditioning.
Originally designed by Joe Finger when the club moved to new land on the northern shores of Long Island in 1971, the former PGA Tour venue underwent a major renovation to its current state in the early 2010s. It has been compared to the home of The Masters ever since.
“I know people say that, but I just don’t like that expression,” said Shifflett. “It certainly wasn’t our intent when we renovated.”
Intention or not, the course will undoubtedly draw more praise when its makes its bow as a Ladies European Tour (LET) venue with the third leg of the Aramco Team Series (ATS) confirmed there from October 14-16.
The LETs best are in for a treat, as PGA Tour winner Scott Brown discovered during his first visit in 2017. For context, Brown is a native of Augusta, Ga., and knows Augusta National well.
“It’s a fabulous golf course, similar (in style) to Augusta National in that you have to play shots to certain quadrants of the greens,” Brown told PGA Tour.com at the time. “It’s not crazy tight [nor is Augusta National] and it’s fun to play. The greens are firm and you have a lot of options for shots around the greens.”
Glen Oaks previously hosted the PGA Tour’s 2017 FedEx Cup playoff opener, The Northern Trust, when Dustin Johnson edged Jordan Spieth in a playoff.
Four years on, it is now home to the penultimate leg of the ATS, four $1 million events in London, Sotogrande (Spain), New York and King Abdullah Economic City (Nov.10-12) incorporating team and individual events over 54 holes.
The teams are decided by an NFL-style draft system where 36 designated captains pick another professional before being randomly allocated a third pro teammate. The teams are then completed by an amateur, in New York after a ‘Team Up’ pre-qualifier.
It means a vital putt in the race for the $800,000 team prize fund could fall to an amateur. The remaining $200,000 is shared among the leading individuals.
Team Buhai – featuring South Africans Ashleigh Buhai and Stacy Lee Bregman, Englishwoman Hayley Davis and Spanish amateur Ignacio Morillo (pictured above) – won the second team’s title following a playoff in Sotogrande last month.
American Alison Lee waltz away with the individual title – by five strokes from Buhai – for her maiden victory as a professional.
World Ranking and Race to Costa del Sol ranking points are on the line in each of the ATS events. Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul, the ATS London runner-up, led the LET’s season-long Costa del Sol points list at the time of press.