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World’s best head Down Under for Women’s Australian Open

Tourism

A tough course primed for tournament play awaits the world’s best female golfers when they return to Australia this month.

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Kooyonga Golf Club in Adelaide, South Australia, will host the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open from February 15-18, the second LPGA tour event of 2018.

The field will feature eight of the world’s top 20 players including So Yeon Ryu, Cristie Kerr, Lydia Ko, Brooke Henderson and Ariya Jutanugarn.

Eight past Women’s Australian Open champions including Karrie Webb, Ha Na Jang, Haru Nomura, Laura Davies and Catriona Matthew will also tee it up to see if they can again hold the Patricia Bridges Bowl aloft.

It is the third consecutive year the LPGA tournament has been held in Adelaide following successful events at The Grange in 2016 and Royal Adelaide last year.

Ha Na Jang Celebrating her 2017 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open victory at Royal Adelaide.

Tournament Director Trevor Herden said it would be one of the strongest women’s fields ever assembled in Australia as players competed for a US$1.3 million purse and 500 points in the Race to the CME Globe.

He said the course was looking “fantastic” and would only get better as the tournament neared.

“Give it another couple of weeks and it will be absolutely brilliant,” Herden said.

“The condition of the three golf courses that we’ve played the last three years has been has been awesome and it’s hard to pick which has been best but Kooyonga is right up there.

“It’s got small greens and the bunkering and green complexes combined are what makes Kooyonga very difficult to play – it will be a great challenge for the world’s best players.”

Kooyonga was the home club of Sir Donald Bradman, widely regarded as the world’s greatest cricketer. It has hosted the Men’s Australian Open five times but it will be the first time the national women’s open is played at the course in Adelaide’s western suburbs.

Approaching the tricky Par 4 18th hole from the rough at Kooyonga Golf Club. Picture: David Brand.

“It’s only fitting that it is now hosting the women’s open – especially considering it’s a global LPGA event – and it will do a sensational job,” Herden said.

“The quality of the holes, the condition of the golf course and everything about Kooyonga is absolutely brilliant.”

Herden said the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open had grown in momentum each year with players and fans since moving to South Australia in 2016.

“That’s evident by the quality of field that keeps coming back and more so this year than ever the depth of the field is to be applauded,” he said.

“I keep hearing through the LPGA that the chat on the driving range is they can’t wait to come back to Adelaide because of the weather, it’s such a good place, the golf courses are brilliant and to be able to stay by the beach at Glenelg in a hotel that’s only 10 minutes away from the golf course is unbelievable for these players.”

“There’s a few players that didn’t play in the Bahamas last week (in the year’s first LPGA event) so they need to hit the ground on a good test and Adelaide golf courses lend themselves to dusting the clubs off and getting going but you’ve got to be on your game to win.”

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