There’s a huge month ahead of women’s golf in February with both the ISPS HANDA Women’s Australian Open and Volvik RACV Ladies Masters taking centre stage as the world’s best players head Down Under.
It’s a momentous year for the ISPS HANDA Women’s Australian Open as the championship returns to Victoria Golf Club for the first time since 1976. In 1974 the course hosted the first Women’s Australian Open when now World Golf Hall of Fame member, Japan’s Chako Higuchi, claimed the title.
Our field this year is right up there with the best we’ve ever had. Former U.S Open champion and World Number 13 Paula Creamer will make her first trip to Australia to compete in the tournament. We’ve been keen to have Paula play here for some time so we’re thrilled to finally be able to welcome her this month and I have no doubt she’ll enjoy her time here.
Joining Paula in the field is World Number 2 Suzann Pettersen from Norway. Suzann had a terrific year in 2013 and has put herself in a perfect position to make a charge at the World Number 1 position this year.
American World Number 3 Stacy Lewis also returns, as does global phenomenon Lydia Ko. We’re very excited to have Lydia back in her first start in the Women’s Open as a professional after winning the HANDA Silver Salver as the leading amateur for the last three years.
Ladies European Tour stars Charley Hull and Carly Booth will make their first splash in Australia. Hull’s break out performance was her instrumental role in the European Team’s win at the Solheim Cup last year.
The Australian players – led by World Number 7 Karrie Webb – always give the championship fantastic support both on and off the golf course and we look forward to welcoming all of them back home as their 2014 seasons begin.
This championship has grown exponentially in recent years to its status as one of the marquee women’s sporting events in the Asia-Pacific region and with prize money of US $1.2 million, there is plenty to play for.
Much of the credit for this growth is due to the exceptional support the championship has received from title sponsor ISPS (International Sports Promotion Society). We are now in our fifth year of partnership with ISPS and Golf Australia fully supports Dr Haruhisa Handa’s passion and drive to see golf included as a Paralympic sport.
When we crown the champion on the Sunday afternoon, we will be writing an important chapter in the history of the championship at the club where it all began.