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World’s best commit to Women’s Australian Golf Open


World No.1 Ariya Jutanugarn and local favourite Minjee Lee have joined a growing list of leading players set to tee it up at the 2019 Women’s Australian Open in February.

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Jutanugarn’s sister Moriya is also a confirmed starter for the February 14-17 event at The Grange Golf Club in the South Australian capital Adelaide.

It will be the fourth consecutive year the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open has been held in Adelaide and the second time at The Grange following a successful event in 2016.

Lee, 22, was at The Grange today for the tournament launch and reflected on a fantastic 2018 LPGA season, which included a win and 13 top 10 finishes, second only to Jutanugarn, to catapult her to No.6 in the world.

The February event will be Lee’s 8th Australian Open and her 5th as a professional.

“I had a really good season this year and one of my goals was to crack into the top 10 of the world rankings so I’m really happy to be in this position,” Lee said.

“I love coming back to Adelaide to play and obviously to play in front of a home crowd is just amazing. I get such great support and something about playing at home is always really special and I love coming back.”

Jutanugarn, 23, won three times on the LPGA tour in 2018 including the US and Scottish opens.

The victories were among 17 top 10 finishes for Jutanugarn, helping the Thai finish 2018 on top of the world rankings.

“It has been a great year. I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved and happy to have been competitive in so many tournaments,” Jutanugarn said.

“I’ve always enjoyed coming to Australia to play and I’ve had a great time in Adelaide the past couple of years, so I can’t wait to come back in February and get my 2019 season started.”

Jutanurgarn’s older sister Moriya broke through for her first LPGA victory to win the LA Open in April and finish the year ranked 20 in the world.

Players will pepper the pin on the short Par-3 8th green when the Women’s Australian Open returns to the Grange Golf Club’s West Course in February. Picture: Gary Lisbon.

Today’s launch followed the announcement earlier this month that major champions Georgia Hall and Pernilla Lindberg will also return to Adelaide in February for the opening national golf championship on the 2019 LPGA Tour’s schedule.

Englishwoman Hall, 22, became just the third local player to win the Women’s British Open since it became a major when she triumphed in August.

In her first full year on the LPGA Tour, Hall finished in a tie for 13th at last year’s Women’s Australian Open at Kooyonga Golf Club and also won the 2016 Vic Open at 13th Beach Golf Links.

“I love coming to Australia to start my season,” said Hall, who has played the Women’s Australian Open twice previously and finished in the top 15 both times.

“It’ll be great to be back in Adelaide competing against such a strong field in a beautiful part of the world. It is always such a fun week, I’m already looking forward to it.”

Swede Lindberg, 32, made an equally huge career breakthrough in winning the ANA Inspiration last year, also for her first LPGA Tour victory.

She, too, can’t wait to kick off the quest for another in a place she’s become very fond of.

“February will be my 10th year in a row at the Women’s Australian Open, so it obviously shows I love it,” Lindberg said.

“It’s a great way to start my season in Australia, and every golf course on the rotation in Adelaide is in great condition and always is a great test.

“Not only that, but there’s always good weather, and good food, too, in Adelaide. There are so many different things that make me excited to come back.”

The tournament is fully sanctioned by the LPGA Tour and the ALPG Tour.

The past two Adelaide events have attracted many of the world’s top female golfers including Brooke Henderson, Lydia Ko and Karrie Webb with several more high profile players expected to be added to the starting list in the coming weeks.

Tournament director Trevor Herden said it was a great testament to the tournament to have major champions such as Jutanugarn, Hall and Lindberg continue to make Adelaide part of their schedule.

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