The international flavour for this month’s Women’s Victorian Open has increased with Swede Sophie Gustafson the latest world-class player to commit to the field.
Golf Victoria is delighted that the world No.90 will bring her game to the prestigious Thirteenth Beach Golf Links at Barwon Heads for the February 21-24 tournament. Gustafson ranks among the all-time greats in women’s golf, having won 28 times worldwide since turning professional in 1992 – including the 2000 Women’s British Open.
The 39-year-old is a three-time winner of the Ladies European Tour Player of the Year award and topped the LET money list four times. She was named a life member of the Ladies European Tour in 2007 and has represented Europe eight times in the Solheim Cup competition.
Gustafson is a member of the LPGA Tour in America – where she won five times – and has amassed more than $6 million in career prizemoney. She’s also recorded 56 career top-10 finishes and last year was awarded the prestigious Golf Writers Association of America Ben Hogan Award.
Gustafson joins fellow Europeans Laura Davies, from England, Spain’s Tania Elosegui and Norwegian Marianne Skarpnord in the final field. This strong quartet will be vying to keep the trophy in European hands, following on from Frenchwoman Joanna Klatten’s triumph last year.
New South Wales golfer Nikki Garrett will strengthen the Australian contingent looking to win the prestigious title. The 29-year-old Garrett, who comes from Shelly Beach in New South Wales, is returning to the form that saw her win the LET Rookie of The Year award in 2006.
The 2005 Australian Amateur champ won twice on the LET Tour in 2007 and posted three top-10 finishes in Europe last year.
Tournament Director David Greenhill said he’s thrilled by the addition of Gustafson and Garrett to what was already a strong field of contenders.
“Sophie Gustafson is a world-class player on the female scene and we look forward to welcoming her to the fantastic facilities at Thirteenth Beach. Nikki is a well-established Australian player now on the LET and ALPG. There’s no question both women will be strong contenders for this year’s title,’’ Greenhill said.
The Women’s Victorian Open will be played on the Creek Course at 13th Beach – designed by Tony Cashmore and Nick Faldo – for the first two days before being played simultaneously with the men’s field on the Tony Cashmore designed Beach Course for the final two rounds. Both fields are playing for $150,000 in prizemoney respectively.
For all the up-to-date news regarding the 2013 Vic Open, check Golf Victoria’s website, www.golfvic.org.au and follow @VicOpenGolf on twitter.
By: Bradley Green (Vic Open Freelancer)