Field confirmed for 2017 RACV Gold Coast Challenge
The ALPG has announced a top-quality field of international players who will compete in the 2017 RACV Gold Coast Challenge, which will be played from 2-4 February 2017 at RACV Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast.
The field of 120 players, who will be competing for prizemoney of AUD$150,000 will consist of 65 ALPG and ALPG International Members, 35 Ladies European Tour Members and 20 invitations from players across the globe.
Laura Davies (Credit: Anthony Powter)
The high-quality field comprises players from 27 different nationalities, including former world number one’s Korean star Jiyai Shin (current world number 23) and Dame Laura Davies, winner of 84 international professional titles including three wins at the RACV Royal Pines Resort and two Australian Open titles.
Of the Australian players, Sarah Jane Smith has just come off her most successful season on the USLPGA Tour in 2016 and has committed to play, along with former Ladies Masters champion and two-time LPGA winner Katherine Kirk, LET stars Rebecca Artis, Stacey Keating, Sarah Kemp and Whitney Hillier who is herself coming off her best season on the Ladies European Tour in 2016.
The field also boasts 5 of the top 10 players from the Ladies European Tour (LET) money list in 2016, including Indian teen sensation Aditi Ashok, 3rd ranked Englishwoman Florentyna Parker (runner up at RACV Ladies Masters in 2015), Swede Camilla Lennarth (who has finished 6th and 3rd in her 2 visits to RACV Royal Pines Resort) and 2015 Oates Victorian Open Champion Marianne Skarpnord.
Joining the impressive LET contingent are rising Danish stars Emily Pederson and Nanna Koertz Madsen who finished 6th and 7th respectively in 2016 and along with Parker are tracking well to make their Solheim Cup debuts in the US in 2017.
On the elite amateur side rising Korean star Eun Jeong Seong, who made history in 2016 by becoming the first female player to win both the US Junior Girls Championship and the US Women’s Amateur Championship will clearly start as favourite, but will face a tough challenge from Australia’s leading amateur Karis Davidson and fellow Gold Coaster Rebecca Kay. Other amateurs in the field include Ian Baker Finch Junior Classic winner Sarah Wilson, and Greg Norman Junior Masters winner Grace Kim.
Other notables in the field are recent additions to the professional ranks Hannah Green and Lizzie Elmassian, both of whom are making their professional debuts.
The winner of the RACV Gold Coast Challenge will automatically receive an exemption into the 2017 ISPS Hand Women’s Australian Open, to be played at Royal Adelaide from 16-21 February.