Date: January 17, 2019
Author: Golf NSW

History of the Women’s NSW Open

The Women's NSW Open is once again an integral part of the ALPG summer tournament schedule in 2019.

Ironically, there had never been a Women’s NSW Open before 2006, so when the NSW Government joined forced with Women’s Golf NSW to stage a women’s Championship, a new era in women’s Golf was set to begin.

The tournament was sanctioned by the ALPG Tour, and as a result, it attracted Rolex World Ranking points.

Oatlands Golf Club near Parramatta was the host venue for the event, and Bing Lee were the inaugural naming rights holder.

The inaugural championship attracted a field of 60 professionals, and 40 elite amateurs Sarah Kemp, Nikki Garrett and 2006 ALPG Players Champion Rebecca Stevenson teed it up alongside tournament drawcard, 2006 Ladies Spanish Open winner Lynnette Brooky.

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 event was moved from the 2007 calendar to January 2008 to make it a better fit with the MFS Women's Australian Open and the ANZ Ladies Masters.

The move to January proved to be a winner. A strong field including a large number of Ladies European Tour (LET) players took part, and it became one of the qualifying events for the Karrie Webb Series. The prize pool also increased to $125,000.

The weather during the tournament week was wet, but it did little to dampen the ferocity of the competition between world number one and winner of 68 titles worldwide, Laura Davies (UK), and Oatlands Golf Club's own Sarah Oh.

The competition between the two continued for three full rounds. Davies eventually defeated Oh by two shots. Leading amateur Jenny Lee, also from Oatlands, finished T7th with WA's Kristy Smith.

The tournament attracted over 5,500 people to the golf course in 2009, with fans getting the rare opportunity to see elite women's professional golf at an event fast gaining recognition as being truly international.

The weather was decidedly uncooperative, with temperatures topping out in the mid-forties. High winds lashed the course and defending champion Laura Davies narrowly missed being felled by a falling branch on the 15th.

This time Sarah Oh and Queensland’s Katherine Hull duelled one another for the crown. After finishing second to Davies the year prior, Oh finally grabbed her maiden NSW Open title, finishing three shots clear of Hull. The leading amateur winner was Julia Boland (NSW).

Wet weather played havoc in 2010 and play was halted during round two to allow the bunkers to drain. In a repeat of 2009, Sarah Oh defended her title from Katherine Hull once more. The winning margin this time was much closer, however, jets a single shot. The leading amateur was Stacey Keating of Victoria.

2011 was a showcase event for the newly merged entity known as Golf NSW. The men's and women's amateur golf associations had amalgamated in July 2010, and this was an opportunity to showcase the success of unifying the two state sporting bodies.

Caroline Hedwall from Sweden held on in a dramatic finish to win by a shot from a talented 13-year-old amateur from New Zealand called Lydia Ko.

Hedwall won two more LET events in 2011 and was selected in the European Solheim Cup Team – a fantastic result for a rookie.

Ko also dominated throughout the year albeit combining schoolwork with tournaments. She received the inaugural Mark H McCormack Medal for 2011, awarded to the top-ranked woman of the year in World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR).

Lydia Ko’s historic Women’s NSW Open win made global headlines when she ended four shots clear of Becky Morgan from Wales in 2012.

The 14-year-old New Zealand amateur became the youngest ever winner, male or female, of a professional golf tournament in the world.

It was a remarkable feat as the field was the best assembled and boasted international stars including Laura Davies, Lorie Kane, Melissa Reid, Jessica Korda and a host of others from the Ladies European and LPGA Tours.

Later that year, Ko became 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 best teenage 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). 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 par.

Hedwall became only the second player to win the title multiple times after Sarah Oh who won back to back crowns in 2009 and 2010.

The Women’s NSW Open once again was played at the “home” of the Women's NSW Open, Oatlands Golf Club in Sydney.

The tournament was took place from 24 to 26 January, and once again there was another high calibre field, including the likes of France's Joanna Klatten and Gwladys Nocera, England's Laura Davies, Sweden's Sophie Gustafson, as well as Australians Sarah Kemp, Lindsey Wright and Rebecca Artis.

Joanna Klatten fired a sizzling course record nine-under-par 63 closing round to win the title 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.

Clyburn held her nerve to hole a three-foot par putt on the last to win the title in Sydney. NSW's Shelly Shin shared seventh and finished as the leading amateur.

After a three year hiatus, and with event securing funding through the NSW Government's Toursim arm, Destination NSW, the Women's NSW Open made a welcome return to the Australian Golf calendar in March. It recieved a large boost when the Ladies European (LET) co- sactioned the tournament, ensuring a field of high quality intenraitonal women professionals.

England's Meghan MacLaren went on to claim the Championship at Coffs Harbour Golf Club, posting a four round totoal of 10 under par.