Despite a relatively small purse of $150,000, the event does enjoy a co-sanctioning arrangement between Australian Ladies Professional Golf (ALPG) and the Ladies European Tour which certainly enhances the strength of the field but the quality of the entries extends well beyond players from those two tours.
It is a level of prize-money that would not previously have seen an involvement from the Ladies European Tour but that tour’s participation in 2018 has assisted in assembling a field that tournament organisers could only have dreamed of when setting about re-establishing this event.
The scheduling of the tournament one week ahead of the Women’s Australian Open in Adelaide has also played its role in attracting the quality of players scheduled to tee it up when the 54-hole event gets underway on Friday.
Royal Canberra during the 2013 Women's Australian Open.
Last week's women's Vic Open champion Minjee Lee and other LPGA stars Katherine Kirk, Sarah Jane Smith, Hannah Green, Rebecca Artis, Catriona Matthew and Cheyenne Woods will be joined in the field by former World Number One and now an outstanding player on the Japan LPGA Tour, Jiyai Shin, adding a further stamp of class to the event.
Lee's win last week has her among the favourites for the title at while Kirk won on the LPGA Tour last season, Smith had a fine year in the US in 2017 and Shin won the last event played at Royal Canberra - the 2013 Women’s Australian Open.
Shin is a prolific winner of titles on the Japan LPGA and the Korean LPGA Tour in addition and also had success at the last staging of the Australian Ladies Masters at Royal Pines on the Gold Coast in 2016. She tends to slip under the radar these days as she focuses on playing in Japan but Shin remains one of the game's finest and joins Laura Davies as one of the field's most credentialed players.
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