Date: February 03, 2011

Heard joins Open field at Commonwealth

South Australian amateur Ebony Heard has earned herself a golden opportunity to advance her playing career courtesy of qualification for the Handa Women&aposs Australian Open at Melbourne&aposs Commonwealth Golf Club. Heard earned her position in the Open field courtesy of an excellent round of 73 at Monday&aposs pre-qualifying event at Kingswood Golf Club which left her as first alternate for the main tournament. The Kooyonga member joins fellow South Australian players Stephanie Na and Tamie Durdon in a star-studded field which includes Yani Tseng, Katherine Hull and Laura Davies. World No.5 and defending champion Tseng could be the player to the beat, with the 21-year-old from Taiwan teeing off alongside local favourite Katherine Hull on Thursday. The 28-year-old Queenslander – the world No.18 – won the Navistar LPGA Classic last year and will be looking for a strong start to 2011. Last year Tseng became the youngest player in history to win three major tournaments when she took out the Kraft Nabisco Championship and the British Open. Korean world No.1 Jiyai Shin is also in contention, after taking out the Mizuno Classic last year as well as enjoying 10 top-10 finishes. Karrie Webb will be bidding for her fifth Australian open title, the most recent coming three years ago at Kingston Heath, and the 36-year-old will look to improve on herd third-place finish at the Commonwealth Golf Club last year. Englishwoman Laura Davies will be making another appearance down under and the perennial contender will be looking to capture an astonishing 80th European Ladies Tour title and add to her 2009 Australian Open crown. South African Lee-Anne Pace will aim for a strong start to the year as she tries to repeat her successes of 2010 when she was the Henderson Money List winner and named Players&apos Player of the year. English star Melissa Reid is desperate to improve on her third-place finishes in 2008 and 2009 and after claiming her maiden title in 2010 at the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open, she has set herself for a big 2011. The 2008 leading rookie has finished runner-up six times in her three seasons on the Ladies European Tour, and will be looking to convert a few of those seconds into firsts as the year progresses. For all scores from the 2011 Handa Women&aposs Australian Open click here to visit the Golf Australia website.