The LPGA Tour continues its swing through Australia this week, setting out its stall at The Grange Golf Club in Adelaide for a tournament featuring 144 women and not one man.
Unlike last week's groundbreaking ISPS Handa Vic Open at Barwon Heads, in which the women contested a tournament alongside a separate men’s event on two courses at 13th Beach Golf Links, the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open is a conventional one-course, one-gender event.
So we’re very much back in familiar territory. There are gallery ropes at The Grange, for example, dogs aren't allowed on the course, and children carrying animal-shaped balloons – such as the little face-painted girl whose balloon-dog exploded just as Spain’s Azahara Muñoz was putting for birdie at Barwon Heads on Sunday – will be politely discouraged from getting too close to the action.
The Women’s Australian Open has been co-sanctioned by the LPGA Tour since 2012, and by the Ladies European Tour for several years before that, and it boasts an illustrious list of past champions including Laura Davies, Karrie Webb, Yani Tseng and Lydia Ko. With a prize purse of $1.3 million US, it is a substantial tournament with a strong field played on a quality course – and more power to the LPGA for venturing this far from home.
Ko, the world No. 14, is in the field, having missed the Vic Open because of corporate commitments, as is world No. 1 Ariya Jutanugarn, her sister, Moriya, defending champion Jin Young Ko, England’s Georgia Ha...
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