Major champions add spice to ISPS HANDA Australian Open field
Two more major champions have been added to the brilliant women’s field being assembled for the ISPS HANDA Australian Open in Melbourne.
World No. 11 Jennifer Kupcho from the United States, who won her first major at the Chevron Championship in California earlier this year, and former world No. 1 Jiyai Shin of South Korea, a two-time winner of the AIG Women’s Open (previously known as the Women’s British Open) have both agreed to tee it up in the Melbourne sandbelt from 1-4 December.
Their presence bolsters a stunning field for the historic dual-gender Open at Victoria and Kingston Heath Golf Clubs next month.
Australia’s top-ranked players Minjee Lee and Hannah Green, five-time winner Karrie Webb and rising LPGA Tour star Stephanie Kyriacou, 2022 major winner Ashleigh Buhai from South Africa, Chinese world No. 16 Xiyu Lin and legendary Dame Laura Davies are all playing the women’s tournament.
The women’s field for the Open now includes four of the top 20 players in the world rankings – Lee (5), Kupcho (11), Lin (16) and Green (20) – which sets up the tournament for an outstanding return after the 2021 event was cancelled because of the pandemic and travel restrictions.
The Open, which will feature men, women and All Abilities playing at the same venues and at the same time, has adopted a new inclusive format for 2022. The men’s tournament is co-sanctioned by the DP World Tour as well as the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia.
Kupcho, the 25-year-old American, emerged as a force in the women’s game with her first-ever major championship victory at Mission Hills in April, winning by two shots, in her fourth year on the LPGA Tour.
The NCAA Champion in 2018 while studying at Wake Forest University, she also won the 2019 Augusta Women’s Invitational event, and has since won three times as a professional, all this year.
Shin, 34, is another Australian fan-favourite, having won the Women’s Australian Open in 2013 at Royal Canberra. She was also beaten in a famous playoff with the immortal Karrie Webb at the Women’s Australian Open at Kingston Heath in 2008.
She was No. 1 in the world in 2010 and won the Women’s British Open in 2008 and 2012, before returning to her native Korea for family reasons, preferring to play on the Japanese women’s tour. But she remains one of the most formidable players on the planet with more than 60 career tournament wins.
The ISPS HANDA Australian Open is to be played from 1-4 December at Victoria and Kingston Heath Golf Clubs in the Melbourne sandbelt.
Women will play alongside men in the historic dual-gender Open in 2022, the first national Open in golf to feature both sexes playing on the same venue at the same time, for separate trophies. The men’s Open and the women’s Open will have equal prizemoney pools of $1.7 million as the Open returns to Melbourne for the first time in several years, also featuring the Australian All Abilities Championship for golfers with a disability.
The men’s field includes all the top-ranked Australians including Cameron Smith, Marc Leishman, Adam Scott, Cam Davis, Lucas Herbert, Min Woo Lee, Matt Jones and Kiwi Ryan Fox as the Open roars back to international prominence after several years in abeyance caused by travel restrictions and the pandemic.
“We couldn’t be happier with the field that we’re assembling,” said James Sutherland, Golf Australia Chief Executive. “Obviously we think the fans are going to be coming out to watch the likes of Minjee Lee and Hannah Green, our homegrown stars, but we have been able to add a cluster of international stars that significantly adds to our anticipation for the event.
“Jennifer Kupcho and Jiyai Shin are very much world class, and to have four of the top 20 players on the world rankings tells us that this event is going to create a lot of excitement in Melbourne next month.
“When you consider the fact that all the top-ranked Australian male players are in the field, including Cameron Smith, Adam Scott, Marc Leishman, Min Woo Lee, Lucas Herbert and Cam Davis, plus Ryan Fox from New Zealand who’s had an enormous year, you are looking at an event that can’t be missed.”
The ISPS HANDA Australian Open is supported by Visit Victoria.
Tickets are available at Ticketek.
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