Blessed with some of Australia’s finest golf courses, Adelaide has embraced the Women’s Australian Open since first moving there in 2016 as an ALPG and LPGA Tour co-sanctioned event with both national and international profile.
The Grange Golf Club in 2016, Royal Adelaide last year and now Kooyonga Golf Club this week provide not only high quality golfing layouts but excellent tournament venues in terms of the logistics of staging a world-class international event.
Originally designed by Cargie Rymill in the early 1920s, Kooyonga has played host to nine men’s Australian Opens, the last of which was played in 1972 when Peter Thomson won his third and final national title, along with numerous South Australian Open titles.
Karrie Webb - chasing a sixth national title - was on course at Kooyonga on Tuesday morning.
In recent years, however, the layout has undergone significant change under the direction of course design company Crafter and Mogford.
Neil Crafter a member of one of the iconic families of Australian golf, his sister, Jane, a former Women’s Australian Open winner, his father Brian a fine player and commentator, and Crafter, himself, an outstanding amateur golfer and member at Kooyonga before embarking on his career in golf course design.
While tournament golf is not necessarily a case of ‘build it and they will come’, the quality of the layouts on offer does play a role in attracting the game’s best and in 2018, as was the case with The Grange and Royal Adelaide over the past two years, Kooyonga does just that.
Built amongst the region known as Adelaide’s sandbelt and lying only two kilometres from the famed beaches of Adelaide’s western suburbs, Kooyonga is adjacent to the city's international airport, adding further to the attraction of the venue.
The 2018 Women’s Australian Open begins a three-tournament swing in the Asia-Pacific region for the LPGA, this week’s tournament followed by events in Thailand and Singapore.
Queenslander Sarah Jane Smith during Tuesday morning practice at Kooyonga.
Some of the game’s best are in the field in South Australia including the world numbers 3, 5, 7, 9 and 10 from the world rankings along with a host of other LPGA and ALPG Tour players whose presence will add significant depth.
So Yeon Ryu is the leading world ranked player in Adelaide this week, followed by Anna Nordqvist, Ariya Jutanugarn, Cristie Kerr and Lydia Ko, four of whom are previous world number ones as is last week’s ActewAGL Canberra Classic winner Jiyai Shin who is chasing her second Women’s Australian Open.
Understandably, Australia’s best female golfers are in the field including Minjee Lee, Katherine Kirk, Sarah Jane Smith, Su Oh, Hannah Green and five-time winner Karrie Webb.
The focus of world golf this week will primarily be on Tiger Woods' competitive appearance at the Genesis Open in the US but the outcome of the Women's Australian Open will undoubtedly capture its fair share of attention.
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