World No 1 Ariya Jutanugarn heads the star-studded field in the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open which starts this Thursday at The Grange Golf Club.
Also joining the event are former World No. 1 Lydia Ko, as well as Australian favorites Karrie Webb, Minjee Lee and Su Oh.
In 2018, then-rookie Jin Young Ko led from wire to wire en route to a three-stroke victory over KLPGA player Hye-Jin Choi, with Aussie rookie Hannah Green finishing third. Ko became just the second player in LPGA Tour history to win in her debut as a Member, joining Beverly Hanson at the 1951 Eastern Open. Ko went on to earn 2018 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year honors.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE ISPS HANDA WOMEN’S AUSTRALIAN OPEN
The ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open was first conducted in 1974, with the 2019 event marking the tournament’s 28th playing. In 2012, the LPGA Tour joined Golf Australia and the ALPG as a co-sanctioning partner.
The tournament has been played across Southeastern Australia but is currently in its second three-year rotation in the greater Adelaide area.This is the second time the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open will be held at The Grange. In 2016, Haru Nomura won on the West Course at 16-under 272, the tournament’s second-best score to par by winner. Nomura is in the field this week, along with past champions Laura Davies (2004, 2009), Jin Young Ko (2017), Lydia Ko (2015), Catriona Matthew (1996), Yani Tseng(2010, 2011) and Webb (2000, 2002, 2007, 2008, 2014).
Other notable past champions include JoAnne Carner (1975), Jessica Korda (2012), Liselotte Neumann (1995), Jiyai Shin (2013), Annika Sorenstam (1994) and Jan Stephenson (1977).
NELLY KORDA LOOKING TO ADD TO FAMILY AUSTRALIAN HERITAGE
The Korda family REALLY likes to play in Australia. Father Petr? He won the 1998 Australian Open tennis tournament. Daughter Jessica? She won the 2012 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. Son Sebastian? He won the 2018 Australian Open junior tennis tournament.
Now it’s up to Nelly Korda to make her own mark on her time Down Under. The third-year LPGA Tour player would love to finally have a part in that family trophy party.
“I feel so left out,” she joked when asked about the family’s Australian legacy. “I don't really put too much pressure on myself. If it happens, it happens. I'm going to go out and try my best.”
Korda is playing in her third Women’s Australian Open, with previous finishes of T40 in both 2017 and 2018. She hasn’t quite reached the family comfort level Down Under, joking that she was in every bunker last year at Kooyonga Golf Club. But if she does find the Korda winning ways this week, you can bet that she’ll finally replicate the signature Korda celebratory Scissor Kick, first done by Petr in 1998 and since duplicated by Jessica and Sebastian.
“Only in Australia, and it has to be the Australian Open,” she said with a big smile.
LYDIA KO HAPPY TO BE BACK AT THE GRANGE
This marks Lydia Ko’s eighth ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, spanning six different golf courses. This week’s venue, The Grange? It’s her favorite of the tournament’s current Adelaide rotation.
“Hopefully I make my share of birdies out there. It’s a tough course but if you play your way around, I think you can make some birdies,” said Ko, who finished second here in 2016 to Haru Nomura. “I’ve got to enjoy it. I love playing in Australia.”
Ko clearly loves competing in the Women’s Australian Open. The New Zealander has four top-three finishes in the tournament, including a victory in 2015 at Royal Melbourne Golf Club, and has never missed the cut in her seven previous appearances. Ko also tasted success Down Under during her amateur days, winning the ALPG’s 2012 Bing Lee/Samsung Women's NSW Open as a 14-year-old amateur, and several other Australian amateur competitions.
NOTABLE FIRST-ROUND GROUPINGS
Defending ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open champion Jin Young Ko opens her 2019 season at 7:44 a.m. off No. 10, playing alongside Georgia Hall and five-time AWO champion Karrie Webb
Haru Nomura, who won the 2016 tournament here at The Grange, tees off No. 10 at 8:06 a.m. with Paula Creamer and Sarah Jane Smith
World No. 1 Ariya Jutanugarn will be off No. 1 at 12:34 p.m., joined by 2015 AWO champion Lydia Ko and Nelly Korda
RACE TO THE CME GLOBE UPDATE
Heading into the third week of the 2019 Race to the GME Globe, 2019 winners Celine Boutier and Eun-Hee Ji leads the standings with 500 points apiece. Mirim Lee sit in third with 366 points, followed by Sarah Kemp, Su Oh and Charlotte Thomas, all tied for fourth with 300 points.
The 2019 season brings a fresh face to the Race to the CME Globe. LPGA Members will accumulate points at each official LPGA Tour event leading up to the CME Group Tour Championship. The top 60 points earners and ties will then earn a spot in the CME Group Tour Championship, with the entire field competing for the $5 million purse and the $1.5 million winner’s check, the largest single prize in the history of women’s golf.
TOURNAMENT SCORING RECORDS
Scoring records since the competition became an official LPGA Tour event in 2012
18 holes: 62, Chella Choi, third round, 2014 (par 72); 63, Lydia Ko, first round, 2012 (par 73)
36 holes: 133, Caroline Hedwall, 2014 (par 72); 131, Mariajo Uribe, 2013 (par 73)
54 holes: 203, Chella Choi, Minjee Lee, 2014 (par 72); 202, Lydia Ko, 2013 (par 73)
72 holes: 272, Haru Nomura, 2016 (par 72); 274, Jiyai Shin, 2013 (par 73)
Tournament: @WomensAusOpen (Twitter and Instagram), #WomensAusOpen
LPGA: @LPGA, @LPGAMedia (Twitter), @lpga_tour (Instagram)
TV TIMES (all times Eastern)
Wednesday, Feb. 20 to Thursday, Feb. 21 – 11 p.m. to 3 a.m., Golf Channel
Thursday, Feb. 21 to Friday, Feb. 22 – 11 p.m. to 3 a.m., Golf Channel
Friday, Feb. 22 to Saturday, Feb. 23 – 11:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m., Golf Channel
Saturday, Feb. 23 to Sunday, Feb. 24 – 11:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m., Golf Channel