Late change to Australian Open fields – Golf Australia Magazine

Played alongside each other at Victoria and Kingston Heath Golf Clubs from December 1-4 the men’s and women’s Australian Opens will offer equal prizemoney, but the original format of 144 players in each field has been adjusted. The women’s field cut to 108, resulting in the men’s field increasing to 156.
Formerly co-sanctioned by the LPGA Tour and played in the early part of the year, the women’s event has shifted to the traditional time in the calendar that the men’s event has occupied. The December date falling after the final event of the LPGA Tour season and for 2022 coinciding with the American circuit’s qualifying school. Nor is the event co-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour, whereas the men’s is a DP World Tour event like this week’s Australian PGA.
Golf Australia and the WPGA Tour of Australasia will surely still be working towards co-sanctioning in the future, and the Q School clash is due to a Hurricane delaying the event that will see the likes of Su Oh in America trying to earn back her playing privileges rather than attempting to win the Patricia Bridges Bowl.
Our two top-ranked players, Minjee Lee and Hannah Green, will be trying to win their first home open crown, while Karrie Webb will hope to wind back the clock and win the Australian Open for a sixth time.
There is also a collection of “foreign raiders” in reigning AIG Women’s Open champion Ashleigh Buhai, LPGA legend Laura Davies, major winners Jennifer Kupcho, So Yeon Ryu and Jiyai Shin and more, but the depth of the remaining field won’t be fully revealed until entries close and the 108 starters are set.
“We are fortunate to have solid depth of talent in our women’s field for the ISPS HANDA Australian Open, with field sizes now adjusted to 108 women and a men’s field of 156,” Golf Australia CEO James Sutherland said in a statement to Golf Australia magazine when asked to comment.
“Co-sanctioning the event with the LPGA wasn’t possible this year due to contractual arrangements in the schedule, and numbers have been significantly impacted by the LPGA Tour school, which was delayed by a hurricane. That has resulted in approximately 120 players not being able to enter the event and has led to a reduction in field size so as to avoid compromising the integrity of the national Open.
“Despite fewer players entering, the women’s field boasts our two top-ranked Australian players who are both Major champions, Minjee Lee and Hannah Green, five-time winner in Karrie Webb, the legendary Dame Laura Davies, former World No.1 players like So Yeon Ryu and Jiyai Shin from South Korea and world top-20 ranked players like Jennifer Kupcho and Xiyu Lin.
“With four of the world’s top-20 players teeing it up, we’re delighted with the field and can’t wait to make history with men and women playing on Victoria Golf Club and Kingston Heath Golf club, along with the Australian All Abilities Championship.”
The history making event also brings in the added element of course setup needing to take into account both fields playing from different tees.
Oftentimes there has been a goal to have equitable scoring across both fields in similar events despite playing separate tournaments albeit concurrently. The return of both events to the famed Sandbelt will hope to showcase the strategic brilliance of the designs at Victoria and Kingston Heath. And the upper echelon of players will surely be hoping a tough test is provided to allow their skills to shine and into contention.
Something that is still being fine-tuned after a recent consultation with tournament ambassadors Geoff Ogilvy and Webb on site where Webb reportedly encouraged adding length to some holes.
Despite the late field size changes, the concurrent Australian Opens still deserve celebration as a world first that it is hoped will see a rise in attention, popularity and success similar to the Vic Open in years gone by.

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