Lydia Ko to Join Star-Studded Field for Women’s Australian Open

lydia ko
Lydia Ko during Round 1 of Buick LPGA Shanghai 2019 (Photo by Yifan Ding/Getty Images)

Fifteen major champions including New Zealand’s Lydia Ko, will take part in the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open at Royal Adelaide Golf Club in February.

A who’s who of women’s golf will descend on Adelaide, more than 10 per cent of the 144-player field has triumphed at the highest level of the sport, validation for the event which was moved to Adelaide, South Australia in 2016.

Firstly, there are the legends: seven-time major winner and World Golf Hall of Famer Karrie Webb, a five-time winner of the Women’s Australian Open, and England’s power hitter Dame Laura Davies, victor in four major championships. Between them, they have won more than 130 golf tournaments over the past 30 years. They are golfing royalty.

There are the veterans: American Cristie Kerr returns with her bulldog competitiveness, and the South Koreans Na Yeon Choi and Jiyai Shin, both dominant players in recent years, are teeing it up.

Although she is only 22 years of age, Lydia Ko slots in that category on the basis of raw achievement; she is a former world No. 1 and a two-time major winner.

Then there are the current-day superstars of the sport who have also won majors: Georgia Hall and Koreans Inbee Park and So Yeon Ryu. Park’s appearance is her first in an Australian Open since Royal Melbourne in 2012; a delightful presence with the game to match, she is a most welcome addition to any golf tournament in Australia.

Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg and Anna Norqvist and Americans Stacy Lewis and Morgan Pressel round out that group.

Finally, the youth brigade are in action at Royal Adelaide. Australia’s Hannah Green and Korea’s Jeongeun Lee6 have both won majors at the tender age of 23, Green taking the Women’s PGA Championship and Lee the US Women’s Open in 2019.

Australian Women's Open stars
Australian Women’s Open stars (Supplied)

Golf Australia’s chief executive Stephen Pitt said it is another incredibly good field that has been assembled.

“Clearly the wonderful Adelaide golf courses and the overall vibe of the city at that time has been a winner for us with the players,” Pitt said.

“We’ve had some record crowds and huge interest in recent years and we’re looking forward to pushing those boundaries again in 2020.”

ISPS Handa executive director Midori Miyazaki said she was excited to see golf’s crème de la crème grace the Royal Adelaide fairways.

“It is brilliant to see 15 major champions come to Adelaide to play in the national championship, including ISPS Handa ambassadors Dame Laura Davies and Lydia Ko,” Miyazaki said.

“It is a massive bonus to an already fantastic field and on behalf of ISPS Handa, we wish all players the best.”

The ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open runs from 13-16 February with more $1.3 million USD on offer.

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