After an exciting season opener at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA classic, the LPGA Tour is heading down under for the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.
This weeks event will see a stellar field, including the defending champion Haru Nomura. Royal Adelaide, one of Australia’s finest layouts, is the host course for the $1,300,000 tournament.
The headliner of the event is World No.1 Lydia Ko. After a remarkable winter, which included her changing coach, caddie and equipment, she is ready to start her 2017 season. The New Zealander is now working with Gary Gilchrist after the controversial sacking of David Leadbetter. She has also put PXG clubs in her bag for this year. Having ended 2016 in poorer form she is looking to make a quick start in Australia. This event is the perfect place for Ko to start, she has never finished outside the top-20 in her five starts here.
Ariya Jutanugarn, who pipped Ko to the 2016 LPGA Money List, is also out this week. She is also a pupil of Gilchrist. After a poor tournament in the Bahamas, she is looking to get back to form this week. Brooke Henderson of Canada and Ha Na Hang from South Korea are the other top-10 players teeing it up in Adelaide.
The event will see 23 Australians in the field this week. Five-time Australian Open champion Karrie Webb and her compatriot Minjee Lee being the biggest names. 2016 was a great season for Lee and she goes into this week as a favourite. After winning the LOTTE Championship and the Blu Bay LPGA last year, she will be ready to get back to winning form. Another Aussie to watch is Lee’s Olympic teammate, Su Oh.
Oh will be hoping to build on a T3 performance at last week’s Oates Vic Open. The Perth-native made a great start in the opening event on the Ladies European Tour calendar. She is among a host of players making the trip from Victoria to Adelaide to compete, including last week’s champion, England’s Mel Reid.
Reid, a long-standing favourite on the Ladies European Tour, had vowed to quit the game altogether if she failed to qualify for the LPGA last December. After defeating German star Sandra Gal in a play-off last week she must be confident that her new venture will be successful.
Michelle Wie has ditched her unique table-top putting stance. After hitting 34 out of 36 greens in regulation, yet still making the cut, she has decided to take action. She is playing this week and will use the claw grip, made famous by Sergio Garcia.