Effervescent Korean Ha Na Jang has bolstered the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open field, with four of the world’s top nine players now making preparations to visit Adelaide.
Jang, a triple champ on the LPGA Tour last year and a prolific winner before that on her home LPGA of Korea Tour, has surged to a career-high sixth in the world rankings and will join fellow top-10 players Lydia Ko (No.1), Ariya Jutanugarn (No.2) and Brooke Henderson (No.9) at Royal Adelaide this month.
The 24-year-old thrilled Adelaide fans last year with her bubbly personality and great shotmaking en route to a tied fourth finish at The Grange.
Tournament director Trevor Herden was delighted by Jang’s commitment.
“She’s an asset to any field with her fan engagement and great personality, so it’s great to have her back in South Australia,” Herden said.
“It really shows that not only did the players love what Adelaide has to offer, but the ongoing and increased support each year really demonstrates the tournament’s growing global status.”
Remarkably, the Open now features 11 of the 18 women who won tournaments on the LPGA Tour in 2016, including three reigning major champions, Ko, Jutanugarn and Henderson.
There are 10 major championship winners who will tee up at Royal Adelaide, including popular American duo Michelle Wie and Mo Martin.
Six past holders of the Patricia Bridges Bowl will tee up, including the three multiple champs Karrie Webb (five times), Laura Davies (twice) and Yani Tseng (twice). Those three women join Ko among the four current or former world No.1s in the field.
“The pedigree of the field is quite remarkable,” Herden said.
“We’ve got a host of Olympians, including our own Minjee Lee and Su Oh, and I would like to think that a large portion of what will become Europe’s Solheim Cup team later this year are also coming.
“We are thrilled with the players’ support of our national championship.”
The final composition of the field will be known after the qualifying tournament at The Grange’s East Course on Tuesday, 14 February.