Date: December 22, 2014
Author: Mark Hayes /

Ko joins hottest field of Australian summer

The hottest field in the summer of Australian golf has committed to the 2015 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.

New Zealand superstar Lydia Ko (world No.3), Chinese dynamo Shanshan Feng (No.5), Korean fan favourite So Yeon Ryu (No.7) and hometown hero Karrie Webb (No.9) will spearhead an incredibly deep field at Royal Melbourne from February 19-22.

Emerging Australian star Minjee Lee will play her first national title as a professional – and be surrounded by no fewer than 11 major championship winners and five former No.1 players on the Rolex World Rankings.

Tournament director Trevor Herden said the Open, jointly sanctioned by the LPGA, LET and ALPG Tours, continued to have great support from the world’s best female players, consistently bringing an elite event to Australia.

“We have 15 of the top 30 players in the world rankings coming – it’s a great testament to the reputation we’ve built up in recent years,” Herden said.

“We’ve got so many women who could legitimately lay claim to our title – and that’s including a host of young Australian women and, of course, five-time champion Karrie Webb who’s defending again.”

Ko, still just 17 but the LPGA Tour’s rookie of the year, is returning to a happy hunting ground having won her first professional event on the ALPG Tour in New South Wales in 2012.

The young Kiwi has also finished in the top three at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open in each of the past two years and is determined to take the next step in February.

“I’m really looking forward to coming back to play the Melbourne Sandbelt,” Ko said.

“I have great memories of playing in Australia and it’s always nice to play in front of an audience who shows us such great support.

“Karrie has obviously been enormous for the Women’s Australian Open, and playing alongside her and others among the world’s best is a great opportunity.”

Royal Melbourne’s world famous Composite Course will host the event for the second time in four editions, with 2012 champ Jessica Korda (world No.24) among the entrants.

Minister for Major Events, Tourism and Sport, the Hon John Eren, MP said the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open continued to reinforce Victoria’s reputation as a global golf leader.

“It’s great to have such an influx of elite talent from around the world descend on Melbourne again,” Minister Eren said.

“The Sandbelt’s reputation as not only a host of world-class tournaments, but also as a destination for golfing tourism will again be showcased on a global stage.”

The event will be broadcast live all four days on ABC Television.

Tickets are available at Ticketek.