OLYMPIANS Su Oh and Minjee Lee will headline a strong field at the upcoming Women’s Australian Open in Adelaide, it has been announced.
The pair is among a number of top players confirmed as starters for the tournament which will be held at Royal Adelaide Golf Club from February 16-19.
Lee - currently World Number 17 - is Australia’s highest-ranked player and captured two LPGA titles in 2016 to bring her career total of worldwide tournament wins to four.
Oh's first full season on the top women’s tour began with a T14 finish at the 2016 Women’s Australian Open at The Grange and she went on to parlay conditional status to start the year into full playing rights
PLAYER PROFILE SU OH:
The 20-year-old Victorian recorded two top-10s, including a runner-up result at the prestigious Kingsmill Championship, and finished 50th on the LPGA money list to guarantee full playing rights in 2017.
“The Australian Open was the making of my whole year,” Oh said in a statement announcing she and Lee had confirmed their intentions to play.
“I had one chance to improve my LPGA ranking and was fortunate enough to make the most of it.
“I can’t wait to get back to South Australia and play Royal Adelaide for the first time. I’ve heard so much about the course and I’m sure it will be one of the best we play all year.
“The talent the LPGA Tour brings to Adelaide is enormous, but I’m hopeful we can get an Australian name on the Patricia Bridges Bowl this time around.”
Compatriot Lee is equally excited about the return to South Australia after a successful 2016 event.
“To win an Australian Open would be huge,” said the 20-year-old Western Australian.
“It was fantastic to have so much support in Adelaide and see the tournament really grow this year and if we can put ourselves in the final couple of groups on Sunday next year, I think it would be brilliant to have that backing behind us.”
Also confirmed for the 2017 event are World Number One Lydia Ko and defending champion Haru Nomura of Japan.
Co-sanctioned by the most powerful women’s professional body in the game, the LPGA Tour, the Women’s Australian Open is building a reputation as one of the world’s most prestigious tournaments.
A strong commitment to the tournament from the South Australian Government has given organisers a solid base to build the event and Golf Australia chief executive Stephen Pitt is excited about the future.
He said the early commitment of players the calibre of Oh, Lee, Ko and Nomura was testament to the standing of the event.
“We’ve watched Minjee and Su come through the ranks as outstanding amateurs and now they’re taking it to the world as professionals, we couldn’t be prouder,” Pitt said.
“They’re both great additions to any field but particularly at home, we hope they’ll both be in contention come Sunday – that would be a huge thrill for them and the big crowds we hope to see at Royal Adelaide.”
Tickets for the 2017 Women’s Australian Open are now on sale through Ticketek and South Australian Minister for Tourism Leon Bignell said his government is excited for tournament week.
"I encourage golf fans to come to Adelaide and enjoy the atmosphere of this world-class international sporting event in South Australia," he said.
"Our state was recently named one of Lonely Planet’s must-see regions for 2017 and there’s never been a better time to visit.
"Women’s sport is vitally important to the state government. As well as the Women’s Australian Open, we have a growing list of incredible events including the Women’s T20 Cricket, the Santos Women’s Tour and the International Netball Quad Series."
PLAYER PROFILE MINJEE LEE: