Star-studded lineup in Adelaide for Australian Open

The Women’s Australian Open gets underway tomorrow at Royal Adelaide Golf Club with a star studded lineup of the world’s best players competing in the LPGA Tour’s second event of 2017.

World No. 1 Lydia Ko, who won the championship two years ago at Royal Melbourne heads the lineup along with World No .3 Thai sensation Ariya Jutanugarn.

Minjee Lee Minjee Lee (Credit: LPGA Tour)

Ko has spent 69 consecutive weeks at the top of the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings. The 19-year-old has 14 LPGA wins in her career, including the 2015 Australian Open, and is seeking her first victory since the 2016 Marathon Classic last July.

Two others from the world’s top-10, Brooke Henderson of Canada and South Korea’s Ha Na Jang are also competing alongside American Michelle Wie, with the Australian lineup including Perth’s Minjee Lee, the world No. 17, and five-time winner of the championship Karrie Webb.

Minjee Lee is the top ranked Australian playing and is one of three Aussies inside the top-100 of the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings. That list includes Lee (17), Karrie Webb (62) and Su Oh (70).

Lee had a breakout season on the LPGA in 2016 – she finished 12th on the season-ending money list and 10th in the final Race to the CME Globe standings. Lee had two wins and six additional top-10 finishes while finishing ranked fourth on Tour in birdies, fourth in eagles and fifth in putts per GIR.

Su Oh, winner of the 2015 RACV Australian Ladies Masters on the LET, had two top-10 finishes on the LPGA in her rookie season in 2016 including a career-best solo second at the Kingsmill Championship. Oh finished fourth in the Rolex Rookie of the Year race and is hoping to build on a T3 performance at last week’s Oates Vic Open.

Twenty-three Aussies are in the field that includes Rebecca Artis, Adriana Brent, Cathryn Bristow, Liv Cheng, Karis Davidson (a), Ellen Davies-Graham, Emma de Groot, Hannah Green, Alizza Hetherington (a), Lauren Hibbert, Whitney Hillier, Stacey Keating, Sarah Kemp, Katherine Kirk, Minjee Lee, Grace Lennon, Katelyn Must, Stephanie Na, Su Oh, Eui Kyung Shin, Sarah Jane Smith, Jessica Speechley and Karrie Webb.

Whitney Hillier has collected four top-20 finishes on the ALPG this season including a T6 finish last week at the Oates Vic Open. Hillier’s T18 finish in 2013 is her best in four Australian Open appearances.

ALPG rookie Hannah Green, who finished T20 at last year’s Australian Open, earned a sponsor’s invite this week as the current ALPG Order of Merit leader. The 20-year-old Green won the Pennant Hills Pro-Am and Hope Island Pro-Am and last week finished T6 at the Oates Vic Open.

Royal Adelaide promises to be a classic test for the field with the par-73 layout played predominantly from the men’s tees. This is one of the world’s best layouts and has hosted ten Australian Opens previously, although only one of those Opens has been for women.