Last week, the 2020 British Women’s Open champion Sophia Popov returned to tour golf on the Ladies European Tour (LET), following an 18-month hiatus from golf.

Sophia Popov teed it up at the Aramco Team Series Presented by PIF – Tampa in her first professional golf tournament since August 2022, with the combination of a shoulder injury and the arrival of her first child in June 2023 keeping her out of action.

Despite the pressure of balancing the life of a golfer with being a new mother, the German national still finds plenty of positives, in particular the priceless smiles waiting for her when she gets home.

Speaking ahead of the tournament, the 2021 Solheim Cup winner said:

“It's my first time figuring it out for a tournament week,” explained Popov. “I must plan in a lot more time, I realised that a few days ago. I wake up in the morning thinking ‘this is going to be my schedule’, and then she does something that makes me about 25 minutes late!”

“It has definitely changed things, but the time I am on the golf course I work very efficiently. If I have three hours, I have three hours, I have to get my work done. I think it's actually helped me, plus when I come home, I always have someone that's smiling at me, excited to see me.”

Popov was selected in the Aramco Team Series Presented by PIF – Tampa draft by team captain Bronte Law, who couldn’t believe her luck when selecting the German.

“When I saw her [Sophia Popov] available, it was a no brainer. I've known Sofia a very long time, we had a lot of fun times when we were in college.

“We spent a lot of time with each other, and she took me under a wing a bit when I was a junior. We had a really good relationship from a young age and I looked up to her.”

Fellow tour Mums share advice

A testament to the camaraderie of the women on the tour is proven by the droves of advice fellow tour mums have given Popov, including words of wisdom from Solheim Cup 2024 captain Stacey Lewis and her assistant captain Brittany Lincicome.

“I talked to Stacey when I was still pregnant, she gave me quite a few tips, on travelling, what to take, what not to take, how to schedule your week, to be most efficient, and then also the expectation levels.

“I think we're kind of similar in that we probably expect the same thing as we did before and it’s trying to figure that out. She gave me a lot of help.

“Britanny [Lincicome], who is here, she's helped me too. She has two kids, so that's one step up. I’ll just try to deal with one for now.”

Despite the monumental changes to Popov’s personal life, she remained focused on the task in hand, which was finishing strong at the Aramco Team Series Presented by PIF – Tampa.

As part of Team Law, Popov and fellow team member Pranavi Urs and their amateur managed to finish in sixth place in the team competition, four shots off from the winning Team Roussin-Bouchard. Popov also made the cut and finished the individual event in a tie for 44th.

We're not sure that Popov had the win in mind this week but not a bad first week back after such a life-changing 18 months. The 31-year-old will make her LPGA return next week when the tour returns to America to play the Fir Hills Seri Pak Championship in Palos Verdes Estates, California.