Date: January 21, 2011

Commonwealth set for Open spectacular

With the 2011 Handa Women&aposs Australian Open just around the corner, players from all over the globe are preparing for the trip to Melbourne for the first event on the Ladies European Tour for 2011. Held from 3-6 February, the championship boasts four of the world&aposs top 20 in the field among a host of fan favourites and rising stars. Leading the field is World Number 1 Korean Jiyai Shin – the 22 year old having already amassed 34 titles around the world and returns following her runner-up finish in a play-off with Karrie Webb at Kingston Heath in 2008. Joining Shin will be World Number 5 and defending champion Yani Tseng who won two of the four majors the Kraft Nabisco Championship and the Women’s British Open in 2010. World Number 16 and four-time champion Karrie Webb returns to Commonwealth looking for her first win on Melbourne&aposs sandbelt since Kingston Heath in 2008. World Number 19 Katherine Hull is hunting for first Handa Women&aposs Australian Open title following a successful season on the LPGA Tour in 2010. Hull won the Navistar LPGA Classic and finished second at the Women&aposs British Open – her best performance in a major. Joining Webb and Hull is a host of richly talented Australian players including LPGA of Japan Tour player Nikki Campbell (WR#47) and World Number 64 Lindsey Wright who is looking for her breakthrough win at Handa Women&aposs Australian Open. Wright finished in the top 5 of both the LPGA Championship and Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2009. Ladies Portugal Open champion Karen Lunn and Actew AGL Royal Canberra Ladies Classic champion Kristie Smith are among other Australian stars Sarah Kemp, Sarah-Jane Smith, Tamie Durdin and Nikki Garrett. Fan favourites Laura Davies, a two-time former champion and Christina Kim will also play at Commonwealth. Davies enjoyed an extraordinary 2010, finishing second the Ladies European Tour Money List and winning five events in five different countries. European No.1 and 2010 Ladies European Tour Money List winner Lee-Anne Pace (SAF) returns to Commonwealth looking for her first win on the ALPG Tour. The Mossel Bay resident also won five times in 2010. Former major champions in the field include 2004 Women&aposs British Open champion Karen Stupples and 2009 US Open champion Eun-Hee Ji. In addition to the champions is a rich vein of talent among rising stars in the field. Sweden&aposs Caroline Hedwall, who won Ladies European Tour Qualifying School in 2010 returns to Australia as do exciting young New Zealand amateurs Lydia Ko and Cecilia Cho and Spanish pro Belen Mozo. The Handa Women&aposs Australian Open is held from 3-6 February 2011 at Commonwealth Golf Club in Melbourne. CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR TICKETS