Date: February 13, 2018
Author: Martin Blake

QUALIFYING: Last 3 places are filled

Kiwi Liv Cheng, Justine Dreher from France and Valdis Thora Jonsdottir from Iceland have qualified for this week’s ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open starting on Thursday at Kooyonga Golf Club in Adelaide.

The trio carded rounds of three-under-par 69 in the 18-hole qualifier on the East Course at The Grange on Tuesday.

While US-based Cheng returns for the fourth time and Dreher for the second, Jonsdottir will make her first appearance in the US$1.3 million championship and will join a stellar field of world-class players including the defending champion Ha Na Jang, So Yeon Ryu, Minjee Lee, Jiyai Shin, Karrie Webb, Brooke Henderson and Lydia Ko.

See the full leaderboard here.

Cheng, a 24-year-old Aucklander,who won the 2017 Gateway Classic on the Symetra Tour,said: “I made a couple of swing changes during the off season and I’ve had a rough couple of weeks, missing the cut by one at both the Oates Vic Open and ActewAGL Canberra Classic, so it’s nice that coming into this event everything is finally coming together for me.”

Dreher, 26, a third-year Ladies European Tour member whose career best finish was fifth in the 2016 ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open, said: “I played in the Women’s Australian Open two years ago here at The Grange and have some good memories, so I’m happy to have the opportunity to play in the championship again. It’s a big tournament and it’s great to be able to play five weeks in a row in Australia at the start of the season. I’ve worked a lot on my swing and so to get into the biggest event is pretty cool.”

Jonsdottir, 28, from Akranes, whose best finish in two years on the LET so far was third in the 2017 Sanya Ladies Open in China, commented: “I hope my game can travel from today forward to the weekend, because it’s been tough practising indoors recently. I played quite solid out there today and I didn’t have a lot of trouble, only one three-putt and the rest were tap-ins, so it’s going to be a fun week ahead.”

This is the third of five consecutive women’s professional golf tournaments in Australia, being played in between the four which are co-sanctioned by the LET and ALPG. The ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open is being played in Adelaide, South Australia, for the third consecutive year and is co-sanctioned by the ALPG and LPGA.