Player Profiles – Australian Golf Digest

Australian Golf Digest
Cameron Smith
Age: 29
From: Brisbane, Queensland
Tour: LIV Golf
World ranking: 3
2022 highlights: Won 150th Open Championship, Players Championship, Sentry Tournament of Champions, LIV Golf Invitational Chicago
What you need to know: If Cameron Smith ever compiles a better season than his 2022 effort, it will have been something to behold. Even removing his exceptional Major-championship breakthrough, it was a three-win season including a pair of significant trophies. Yet he also hoisted the biggest one of all, scorching the inward nine at St Andrews to pinch the claret jug at the Home of Golf on the Open Championship’s 150th staging. Victory at his national Open would close what has been an incredible past 12 months.
Minjee Lee
Age: 26
From: Perth, Western Australia
Tour: LPGA Tour
World ranking: 5
2022 highlights: Won US Women’s Open, Cognizant Founders Cup
What you need to know: Some of the most prestigious accolades were potentially still to come for Minjee Lee as the LPGA season wound down, yet it was already a banner year for the West Australian. She captured the most glittering trophy in the women’s game with a four-stroke demolition of the field at the US Women’s Open. Such a dominant triumph reaffirmed her starpower, Lee’s second career Major coming just weeks after she’d captured the Founders Cup that signalled her peak form was back.
Adam Scott
Age: 42
From: Gold Coast, Queensland
Tour: PGA Tour
World ranking: 38
2022 highlights: T-4 Genesis Invitational, 6 other top-10 finishes
What you need to know: There was consistency and cash but no silverware for Adam Scott in 2022. His results were far from disastrous – seven top-10s across three different tours – and his often-criticised putting was the best part of his game, yet at no point was the 2013 Masters champion ever really in the mix during the final nine holes of a tournament. His best result, a share of fourth at the Genesis Invitational in Los Angeles, came during a week when winner Joaquin Niemann was untouchable.
Hannah Green
Age: 25
From: Perth, Western Australia
Tour: LPGA Tour
World ranking: 20
2022 highlights: Runner-up DIO Implant LA Open, 7 other top-10 finishes
What you need to know: Hannah Green has done everything but win in 2022, during what has been a remarkably consistent season featuring eight top-10s and no missed cuts with a runner-up result and a third-place finish. The only thing missing is some silverware, so the Patricia Bridges Bowl would make a fitting cap to an excellent campaign.
Min Woo Lee
Age: 24
From: Perth, Western Australia
Tours: PGA Tour and DP World Tour
World ranking: 60
2022 highlights: 3rd Open de España and Andalucia Masters, T-4 Fortinet Australian PGA Championship
What you need to know: There were flashes of brilliance and fleeting chances to secure victories, yet ultimately it was a solid if unspectacular season for Min Woo Lee, highlighted by a pair of third-place results in Spain late in the season. Top-30 results in three of the four Majors were also impressive achievements, led by a share of 14th at the Masters – alas, one shot away from automatic qualification for the 2023 edition.
Laura Davis
Age: 59
From: Coventry, England
Tours: LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour
World ranking: 617
2022 highlight: T-22 Aramco Team Series New York
What you need to know: Dame Laura Davies was light on starts in 2022 but remains huge in terms of impact in any tournament in which she plays. The World Golf Hall of Famer has long held a soft spot for Australia and is a two-time winner of the Women’s Australian Open, in 2004 and 2009 – the latter coming on the Melbourne Sandbelt, at Metropolitan Golf Club.
Lucas Herbert
Age: 26
From: Bendigo, Victoria
Tours: PGA Tour and DP World Tour
World ranking: 55
2022 highlights: 3 top-10 finishes
What you need to know: There was a little bit of everything in Lucas Herbert’s pond-hopping 2022 season. As he tackled two tours – thanks to victories on both circuits in 2021 – he posted mostly middling results, with the odd flash of brilliance thrown in. He did, however, notch top-15 finishes at two Majors, the PGA Championship and The Open.
Stephanie Kyriacou
Age: 22
From: Sydney, New South Wales
Tour: LPGA Tour
World ranking: 95
2022 highlights: T-7 AIG Women’s Open, T-10 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship
What you need to know: Steph Kyriacou’s debut season on the LPGA Tour ticked one key box: she kept her card for 2023. She also looked comfortable on the circuit, registering a series of solid finishes and decent cheques even if she wasn’t in serious contention for a trophy just yet. That Kyriacou’s two best finishes on tour this year came in Majors hints at her lack of fear on the biggest stages.

Cameron Davis
Age: 27
From: Sydney, New South Wales
Tour: PGA Tour
World ranking: 66
2022 highlights: T-3 RBC Heritage, 4 other top-10 finishes
What you need to know: Winner of the Australian Open five years ago, Cam Davis was one of several members of this year’s International Presidents Cup team buoyed by his first experience of top-tier representative golf. His form on the PGA Tour since has been strong, giving every indication that a second Stonehaven Cup might be within his grasp.

So Yeon Ryu
Age: 32
From: Seoul, South Korea
Tour: LPGA Tour
World ranking: 67
2022 highlights: T-7 Ascendant LPGA, T-8 Amundi Evian Championship
What you need to know: So Yeon Ryu owns Sandbelt experience as one of the five players vanquished in the playoff won by Jessica Korda at the 2012 Women’s Australian Open at Royal Melbourne. The former world No.1 is on a quest to regain the form that took her to the pinnacle of the game for 19 weeks in 2017.
Matt Jones
Age: 42
From: Sydney, New South Wales
Tour: LIV Golf
World ranking: 92
2022 highlights: T-2 Valero Texas Open, 3rd Sentry Tournament of Champions
What you need to know: Matt Jones is in the curious position of being the defending Australian Open champion yet having last won the title three years ago. It’s been a disrupted year for the two-time Open winner in the sense that he was one of the first players to ‘jump ship’ to the LIV Golf movement in June, finishing between 15th and 19th place there four times. Prior to that, he notched a pair of top-three finishes on the PGA Tour.
Jennifer Kupcho
Age: 25
From: Colorado, USA
Tour: LPGA Tour
World ranking: 11
2022 highlights: Won Chevron Championship, Meijer Classic, Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational (with Lizette Salas)
What you need to know: Jennifer Kupcho confirmed the talent she signalled in winning the 2019 Augusta National Women’s Amateur by clinching the first LPGA Major of 2022 with an impressive display at the Chevron Championship. She built a record 54-hole score before eventually winning by two strokes to be the last player to take the famous leap into Poppie’s Pond ahead of the championship’s venue change from 2023. Kupcho added two more LPGA victories during the American summer.
Kip Popert
Age: 24
From: United Kingdom
World ranking: 1
What you need to know: Popert has triumphed over cerebral palsy and numerous surgeries to his legs by crafting a great career in golf, including a climb to the world No.1 ranking for All Abilities golfers in 2021.
Brendan Lawlor
Age: 24
From: Ireland
World ranking: 2
What you need to know: Lawlor has been ranked as the best All Abilities player in the world and become the first All Abilities player to compete in a DP World Tour event. The 2018 AAAC runner-up lives with a bone growth disorder.
Juan Postigo Arce
Age: 26
From: Spain
World ranking: 4
What you need to know: An amputee who famously hurls his prosthetic leg away and smashes drives off his remaining leg, Postigo has won numerous All Abilities events and competed in the 2018 AAAC at The Lakes.
Tommaso Perrino
Age: 38
From: Italy
World ranking: 5
What you need to know: Perrino was the Italian boys’ champion at 16 before a motorbike accident and subsequent complications from surgery took him away from golf. He later began coaching and now plays again as an amputee.
Mike Browne
Age: 44
From: England
World ranking: 6
What you need to know: An amputee who has bloomed in golf after a training accident with the Royal Artillery Gunners and numerous surgeries led to Browne having his left leg amputated in 2013. He turned pro in 2016.
Kurtis Barkley
Age: 34
From: Canada
World ranking: 7
What you need to know: Barkley is a Canadian star who was runner-up in a playoff in the AAAC in 2019. Born with scoliosis or curvature of the spine, he has been a lifelong golfer in the image of his golf-teacher father.
Johan Kammerstad
Age: 46
From: Sweden
World ranking: 9
What you need to know: The Swede who won both the first two versions of the AAAC was born without some bones in his right leg and has had to endure a 20-centimetre difference in leg length. He remains a force in All Abilities golf.
Mette Wegge Lynggaard
Age: 38
From: Denmark
World ranking: 43
What you need to know: The only woman in the field, she has become one of Europe’s best All Abilities players after a lengthy break from golf. Wegge Lynggaard was born with cerebral palsy that affects her left side.
Geoff Nicholas
Age: 61
From: Australia
World ranking: 14
What you need to know: Nicholas has not only dominated All Abilities golf and won events globally, he has also competed strongly against able-bodied golfers. Born with a leg deformity, he had his right leg amputated as a child.
Cameron Pollard
Age: 23
From: Australia
World ranking: 18
What you need to know: A prolific winner of All Abilities events, Pollard, who has managed Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and autism all his life, has established himself as one of Australia’s best. He played in the 2018 AAAC.
Stephen Prior
Age: 45
From: Australia
World ranking: 25
What you need to know: Prior lost the bottom of his right arm in a waterskiing accident, going on to become not only a great All Abilities player but one of the sport’s strongest advocates as president of Amputee Golf NSW.
Mike Rolls
Age: 39
From: Australia
World ranking: 55
What you need to know: Rolls is a double amputee whose wit and humour were captured in his book Ditch The Dead Weight. He had both legs amputated after contracting meningococcal septicemia in 2001.
Kristen Rudgeley
Age: 20
From: Perth, Western Australia
What you need to know: Coming off a banner year in 2021 in which she won multiple significant titles, Rudgeley authored a steady year with one victory in the not-for-pay ranks plus a triumph against the pros at The Athena. Also among her highlights was becoming the first Australian to make it to the final round of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, where she finished a commendable eighth.
Connor McKinney
Age: 20
From: Perth, Western Australia
What you need to know: The Scottish-born West Australian notched three significant victories in amateur golf this year, headlined by his playoff win at the Australian Amateur Championship, which gave him an exemption into the Australian Open field. McKinney also won the prestigious St Andrews Links Trophy in the nation of his birth, plus the South Australian Amateur Classic.
Fiona Xu
Age: 17
From: New Zealand
What you need to know: In April, Xu became the first Kiwi to win the Australian Amateur Championship since Lydia Ko achieved the feat a decade earlier, dominating the field at Melbourne’s Cranbourne Golf Club to win by three strokes. That wire-to-wire victory came hot on the heels of two runner-up performances in other parts of Australia – at the prestigious and popular Riversdale Cup and the Rene Erichsen Salver.
Jeff Guan
Age: 18
From: Sydney, New South Wales
What you need to know: The Australian Junior champion hoisted no fewer than five trophies this year as he reaffirmed his place as a player of the future. Guan captured the Junior Players Championship, the Uniqlo/Adam Scott Junior, the Adidas Golf Junior 6s Tour World Final and the Harvey Norman Week of Golf, plus he represented the International side at the Junior Presidents Cup.
Jeneath Wong
Age: 17
From: Melbourne, Victoria
What you need to know: Eight times Wong has raised a trophy in 2022 as, like Guan, she earns her place in the Australian Open field as reward for being the Australian Junior champion. Her other successes came at the Women’s Master of the Amateurs, the Victorian Junior, the Portsea Open Amateur, the Jack Newton International Junior Classic and at two Adidas Golf Junior 6s events, including the world final.
Harrison Crowe
Age: 21
From: Sydney, New South Wales
What you need to know: The new Asia-Pacific Amateur champion is remaining in the lilywhite ranks a while longer to take up the exemptions he received into the 2023 Masters and Open Championship as a result of claiming the biggest amateur title of his career. Not to be forgotten: Crowe also won the New South Wales Open, as well as the NSW and Victorian Amateur titles for 2022.

© 2022 Australian Golf Digest. All rights reserved.

source

You may also like...