Pia Babnik A High Schooler To Remember | LPGA

RANCHO MIRAGE, CALIFORNIA Pia Babnik has a year and a half of high school left. But that didn’t slow down the Slovenian star as she kicked off her second season as a pro with a Bang and a near splash as the 18-year-old birdied the final hole of regulation at Mission Hills to rousing applause. It was a finish that left Babnik alone in third place at the Chevron Championship and introduced her to the golf world.

Even though she was known among avid fans in Europe, having won two Ladies European Tour events as a Rookie last season, the Chevron marked Babnik’s second-ever start in the US And the finish, a closing 66 to equal Sunday’s lowest round and put her in mid-afternoon contention for the title, jumped Babnik from no.109 in the Rolex Rankings to 43rd. Finishing 11-under par in the year’s first major also insured that golf fans around the world will know her name from now on.

“I try to do my best at every tournament, but it depends so much on luck. Sometimes it’s your week. Sometimes it’s not. I still have the same goal to be No.1 in the world. And I’ll keep trying to achieve that, “Babnik said.

The third-place finish is the best result from a Slovenian golfer in any LPGA Tour event, much less a major. And her finish in the desert guarantees her acceptance to play in all five majors this year.

She said, “I was really happy with my game this week. It’s been great. It’s a course that you have to be patient (with), and that’s something that I did.”

Babnik didn’t let the pressure of competing against established golfers get in the way of her game. She said she just treated it as a normal round and not the final day of a major.

Her performance was equally Astonishing because she was the youngest player in the field and one of the Longest. Babnik said she had to dial back her powerful swing to stay on the Fairways. She said she typically hits it 270 to 280 but left open the question of whether that was yards or meters. If it’s the latter, she would be the longest woman in the game by a good margin.

The young challenger also said she would try to play on the LPGA Tour Fulltime as soon as she finishes high school. Babnik said, “Since I was a younger, I always enjoyed playing tournaments, especially winning. I keep competing because I love it.”

Her first tournament was an under-eight tournament in Slovenia where she made her first birde at age 4. Babnik grew up as a multi-sport athlete playing tennis, badminton, and basketball in addition to golf with her brothers. But, she said, “Golf was always number one. I always loved golf more than any other (sport).”

Pia has had guidance from her parents, Ales and Mateja Babanik, who are both professional badminton players. “My parents said the most important thing was to develop as an athlete,” she said.

It’s clear that Babnik has been refining herself as a sportswoman in high-stakes settings throughout the last few years. Her final round at the Chevron Championship looked different from her start at the 2021 Jabra Ladies Open.

At the Evian Resort Golf Club, “The final round didn’t start as I expected, I made two double bogeys on the first two holes, so then I just got to myself that I have four par-5s before the end, so let’s at least try to make four more birdies so that I finish level par, “Babnik said.

The teen made up for her early mistakes and left triumphant in France. But, she said, “I guess I got a bit Lucky. I played the 16 holes really well, so I was really happy to get back after the first two holes.”

Babnik has become an icon in her home country, and her initial and foreseeable accomplishments may inspire other young golfers. She said, “I hope in the future more people (in Slovenia) will know about it and decide to play it, because it’s really amazing.”

With a few professional Achievements under her belt, Babnik will be a player to keep an eye on for the rest of the season. She’s not a contender to underestimate.

Riding her momentum and managing her new-found fame will be crucial for Babnik to remain in the top-50 in the world.

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