TOP International golf returns to Royal Melbourne in February with a number of the world’s top women golfers to compete in the LPGA sanctioned 2012 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.
Six of the world’s 10 leading players will be competing at the scene of the 2011 Presidents Cup for a record prize pool of US$1.1 million.
World No.1 Yani Tseng leads the pack that includes Norway’s Suzann Pettersen (#2), Korean Jiyai Shin (#7) and Americans Cristie Kerr (#4), Stacy Lewis (#9) and Brittany Lincicome (#10).
Joining them is Australian World Golf Hall of Fame member Karrie Webb and Americans Morgan Pressel, Angela Stanford and new LPGA Tour member Lexi Thompson.
Thompson became the youngest player in history to win an LPGA event at 16 years of age at the Navistar Classic last September. She followed up by becoming the youngest professional to win on the Ladies European Tour at the season ending Dubai Ladies Masters.
Thompson, who has played in Melbourne for the last two years, said she was looking forward to the composite course challenge.
“I am so excited to make my debut as a member of the LPGA at the 2012 ISPS Handa Australian Open. I watched the Presidents Cup with great interest and can’t wait to play Royal Melbourne. I truly enjoyed my previous trips to Australia and I am really looking forward to the wonderful fans and amazing hospitality down under,” Thompson said.
2011 US Women’s Open champion So-Yeon Ryu heads an impressive list of Korean players including 2008 and 2009 US Women’s Open champions Inbee Park and Eun-Hee Ji and Hee Young Park who won the LPGA’s season ending CME Group Titleholders in November.
The European charge will be lead by former Open champions Laura Davies and Sophie Gustafson as well as Sandra Gal, Melissa Reid, Anna Nordqvist and Ladies European Tour Player of the Year Caroline Hedwall.
In total, 18 of the 2011 Solheim Cup representatives will be in action in Melbourne.
Australians Katherine Hull, Nikki Campbell, Sarah Kemp, Kristie Smith, Lindsey Wright and Frances Bondad join Webb as the home challengers.
Golf Australia CEO Stephen Pitt said “The world’s eyes will be on Melbourne for this sensational field and with so many outstanding players, it’s hard to know which way to look. We’re excited to welcome the LPGA Tour to Melbourne for the first time and to kick off their global season.”
The event is on from February 9 – 12 with host broadcaster ABC TV covering all four days of the championship.
The 21012 SPS Handa Women’s Australian Open is a fully sanctioned LPGA Tour event and is sanctioned by the ALPG Tour and Ladies European Tour.
Tickets are available from Ticketek