Women’s Australian Open kicks off in Adelaide

A star-studded field will tee it up this morning at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open at the Grange Club’s West Course.

2016 marks the return of the Australian Open to Adelaide after a 22-year absence when Annika Sorenstam won the Patricia Bridges Bowl at Royal Adelaide in 1994.

Lydia Ko World number one Lydia Ko highlights a star-studded field at the Women’s Australian Open (Credit; Callaway Golf)

With world number one Lydia Ko defending her title and returning in hot form after her victory in New Zealand last week, spectators are in for a feast of world class golf with Ko’s main rivals expected to come from Korean Ha Na Jang, who won in Florida two weeks ago, brilliant Canadian teen Brooke Henderson, former champ Jiyai Shin and five-time champion Karrie Webb, who played her way into form in Victoria two weeks ago.

In truth, there are dozens of players in the field with championship credentials and not to be discounted is Korean Chella Choi, who has finally broken through for victory on the LPGA after numerous close shaves over the years.

Choi almost claimed this title at the Victoria Golf Club two years ago and finished tied for 4th behind Ko last year.

Australia’s main chance will most likely come in the form of world number 19, Minjee Lee, who carries the mantle as Australia’s top-ranked player after a fantastic season on the LPGA last year which netted her first LPGA victory.

After a lengthy break, Lee returned to action in the Florida event and is focused on performing strongly at home in front of family and friends this week.

“Every tournament that we go to, I think everybody’s goal is to be the winner,” Lee said. “Yes, I think I’ve got a good chance this week. This is our national championship so it would be really special for me. My whole family’s coming out this week so it would be even more special I think, if I did.”

The Grange West will prove a strong test for the players with course re-designer, Mike Clayton, also getting a close up look at his 2007 handiwork as he totes the clubs for 2015 Ladies Masters champion Su Oh. The championship presents Oh with a great opportunity to further her career with a strong performance in this LPGA co-sanctioned event.

The ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open will be played from February 18-21 with ABC TV broadcasting on all four days from Adelaide.