Ly­dia Ko

To de­fend ISPS Handa Women’s Aus­tralian Open

Ladies GOLF - - News -

World No.1 Ly­dia Ko, plus Kar­rie Webb and Min­jee Lee com­mit to ISPS Handa Women’s

Aus­tralian Open Cham­pi­onship in Ade­laide

The New Zealan­der, still just 18, be­came the youngest win­ner in the tour­na­ment’s sto­ried his­tory when she saluted at Royal Mel­bourne in Fe­bru­ary.

She will be joined on The Grange Golf Club’s West Course by Australia’s top-ranked play­ers, LPGA Tour win­ner Min­jee Lee and five-time na­tional cham­pion Kar­rie Webb – the first con­firmed starters in what will be a star-stud­ded field back in South Australia for the first time in 21 years.

Ly­dia Ko, who went on to win the LPGA’s sea­son-long Race to the CME Globe as the Tour’s top player for 2015, is ex­cited to re­turn to Australia, the scene of sev­eral defin­ing mo­ments in her ca­reer.

“The ISPS Handa Women’s Aus­tralian Open re­ally helped to jump­start a great year for me in 2015 and I am thrilled to be the de­fend­ing cham­pion,” Ly­dia said. “It’s al­ways fun for us to play in front of our fans in Australia and we are al­ready hear­ing good things about The Grange Golf Club.”

Kar­rie Webb, the record-hold­ing five-time cham­pion, is keen to kick­start her 2016 cam­paign with another ti­tle as she builds to­wards what she hopes will be an his­toric Olympic tilt. “The Pa­tri­cia Bridges Bowl has al­ways been spe­cial to me – it’s a great tro­phy with some great names on it,” Kar­rie said. “It’s fan­tas­tic for the tour­na­ment to get back to South Australia and I can’t think of a bet­ter way to start a big year than by get­ting into con­tention on Sun­day af­ter­noon in Ade­laide.”

Min­jee Lee, 19, was low am­a­teur at the Open at Vic­to­ria in 2014 (T11 over­all), lead­ing Aus­tralian as a pro in 2015 (T7) and is look­ing to con­tinue that pro­gres­sion in Ade­laide.

“It would be fan­tas­tic to take that next step – it would mean a lot to go well in my na­tional cham­pi­onship,” Min­jee said. “I can’t wait to get to Ade­laide and take on the world’s best play­ers in our own back­yard again.”

South Aus­tralian Min­is­ter for Tourism Leon Bignell said se­cur­ing th­ese high-pro­file play­ers was a huge boost for the tour­na­ment. “To have pro­fes­sion­als of this cal­i­bre com­mit so early is an ex­cel­lent in­di­ca­tor of the high stan­dard in­ter­na­tional event we can all look for­ward to in Fe­bru­ary,” Mr Bignell said.

“No doubt fans from around the globe will turn their at­ten­tion to Ade­laide to watch the per­for­mance of the world’s best golfers. We want to wel­come peo­ple from around Australia and the world

Ly­dia Ko

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