Date: December 06, 2013

Bing Lee Fujitsu General Women’s NSW Open History

The Women's NSW Open has become a prestigious event and an integral part of the ALPG summer tournament schedule since its inception in December 2006. Prior to that, there had not been a major women's NSW golf tournament after 103 years of women's golf in the state. In a strategic move, Women's Golf NSW, the Oatlands Golf Club and the NSW Government joined forces to stage the event at the end of the popular South Coast Pro Am series. The NSW Government, through its Major Events Board, committed $150,000 over three years to help establish the event in the state. The event was sanctioned with the official ALPG Tour Order of Merit status and attracted Rolex World Ranking points. NSW became the only state to conduct a Women's Open. Oatlands Golf Club has been the host venue for each year of the event.


With support from inaugural naming rights sponsors LG / Bing Lee, the event's prize pool of $100,000 attracted quality players from a field of 60 professionals and 40 top amateur players. These included Sarah Kemp, Nikki Garrett and 2006 ALPG Players Champion Rebecca Stevenson and 2006 Ladies Spanish Open winner Lynnette Brooky. Australian ALPG member, Joanne Mills won the inaugural event against fellow New South Wales pro Sarah Kemp following a five hole playoff. The leading amateur was Haeji Kang from Queensland who finished T5th.


The December timing was altered to January to better fit with the MFS Women's Australian Open and the ANZ Ladies Masters, therefore was not played in December 2007.


The move to January proved to be a winner. The Open successfully secured a strong field of Ladies European Tour (LET) players, including leading amateur players. It became one of the qualifying events for the Karrie Webb Series.

Following the passing of Ken Lee, founder of major sponsor Bing Lee, the Open Cup was renamed Ken Lee Cup as a mark of respect and appreciation for Ken Lee's support. In 2008 the event returned with an increased prize pool of $125,000. The weather was a little damp, however that did little to dampen the ferocity of the competition between world number one and winner of 68 tournaments worldwide, Laura Davies (UK), and Oatlands Golf Club's own Sarah Oh. The competition between the two continued for three full days. Laura eventually defeated Sarah by two shots. Leading amateur Jenny Lee, also from Oatlands, finished T7th with WA's Kristy Smith.


In 2009, the event attracted over 5,500 people to the golf course. Golf fans had the rare opportunity to see women's professional golf at the elite level, at an event fast gaining recognition as being truly international. The weather was decidedly uncooperative, with temperatures topping out at 45C. Strong winds also lashed the trees around the course; with defending champion Laura Davies narrowly missing being felled by a large branch on the 15th. This time it was Sarah Oh (NSW) and Katherine Hull (QLD) who sparred during the whole tournament. After finishing second to Davies the year prior, Oh was not about to repeat the performance, finishing 3 shots clear of Hull. The leading amateur winner was Julia Boland (NSW).


Samsung replaced LG as part of the naming rights sponsors. Unlike the year before, the 2010 event's wet weather prevailed with play halted on Saturday to allow the bunkers to drain. Sarah came from behind Laura Davies (UK) on the last day to battle it out with reining Australian Ladies Masters champion Katherine Hull in the final rounds. In a repeat performance, Korean-born Sarah Oh (NSW) tussled with Hull and successfully defended her title by one-shot to claim her second victory. Leading amateur was Stacey Keating from Victoria.


2011 was a showcase event for the newly merged Golf NSW Limited. The men's and women's amateur golf associations amalgamated in July 2010. This was an opportunity to demonstrate the combined forces of two very strong and highly respected organisations. Rookie professional Caroline Hedwall from Sweden was the ultimate one shot winner in a dramatic finish with the highly talented 13 year old amateur Lydia Ko from New Zealand. Hedwall went on to win two more LET events in 2011, as well as being selected in the European Solheim Cup Team – an amazing result for a rookie. Ko also dominated throughout the year. Although still an amateur she has had an extremely successful season, albeit combining schoolwork with tournaments throughout. She was presented with the inaugural Mark H McCormack Medal for 2011, awarded to the top-ranked golfer in the women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR).


The Women’s NSW Open made global headlines as a result of Lydia Ko’s historic win when she ended 4 shots clear of Becky Morgan from Wales. The 14 year old New Zealand amateur was etched in history as the youngest ever winner, male or female, of a professional golf tournament. This was quite a feat as the field for the event was the best ever assembled, with 43 international players including Laura Davies, Lorie Kane, Melissa Reid, Jessica Korda and others from the Ladies European and LPGA Tours. Later in the year, Ko took that a step further by becoming the youngest ever winner of an LPGA tournament by winning the 2012 CN Canadian Women’s Open. Ko was again recognised as the top-ranked female golfer when she received the 2012 Mark H McCormack Medal.


Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall captured her second Bing Lee/Samsung Women’s NSW Open title in 2013. The five-time winner on the Ladies European Tour held off two of the world's finest teenaged amateurs, defending champion Lydia Ko from New Zealand and Western Australian Minjee Lee. Hedwall fired a final-round 68 to finish on 13-under par, two shots clear of world No.1 ranked amateur Ko (69) in drizzling conditions. Australian amateur champion Lee (71), the No.3-ranked amateur in the world, stayed in contention until the 16-year-old incurred her first and only bogey of the tournament after 48 holes and finished on 10-under. Hedwall became only the second player to win the title multiple times, Sarah Oh won back to back titles in 2009 and 2010.


Fujitsu General (Aust) Pty Limited came on board as the co-title sponsor of the 2014 Women’s NSW Open on the ALPG Tour. The tournament, which will be known as the Bing Lee Fujitsu General Women’s NSW Open once again was played at the “home” of the Women's NSW Open, Oatlands Golf Club in Sydney. Philip Perham, Deputy Managing Director expressed the company’s excitement about being part of women’s professional golf for the first time. “We’re excited to be joining with Bing Lee, a long and valued partner of Fujitsu, in support of women’s golf here in NSW. Air conditioning and summer go hand in glove and from this perspective the timing of this event couldn’t be better for our company.” “Fujitsu General has a long history of charitable and sporting sponsorships in Australia, but importantly this sponsorship is our first direct involvement with women’s sport". "We’re excited to be onboard and with the opportunities this association presents our brand." The tournament was played from the 24 to 26 January and once again another high calibre field, including the likes of France's Joanna Klatten and Gwladys Nocera, England's Laura Davies, Sweden's Sophie Gustafson, Australians Sarah Kemp, Lindsey Wright and Rebecca Artis.

Joanna Klatten fired a dazzling course record nine-under-par 63 closing round to win the Bing Lee Fujitsu General Women's NSW Open by three strokes. Minjee Lee took home the leading amateur medal; the 2014 Australian Amateur champion finished at 11-under-par and tied for 5th.


It was another exciting finish at the 2015 Bing Lee Fujitsu Women's NSW Open at the Oatlands Golf Club. Numerous international players were in the mix to take the title, with seven countries represented in the top ten. England’s Holly Clyburn went into the week with no expectations and left the winner. She held her nerve to hold a three foot par putt to win the title in Sydney. NSW's Shelly Shin shared seventh and finished as the leading amateur.