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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 274
COVER STORY I T’S been four years since an Australian last won the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open and earned the right to lift the Patricia Bridges Bowl. It's a pretty good chance the next time it does happen it will be in Adelaide, with Golf Australia announcing this week that the national championship will stay in the city of churches until 2021. Fingers crossed it's this week. However, it will be no easy task for Australia’s growing contingent of world-class players as the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open continues to attract the cream of women’s golf through the co-sanctioning agreement with the LPGA Tour. This year alone, there will be eight past Australian Open champions – who’ve combined for 14 victories – on show at Kooyonga Golf Club from February 15. There will be 15 major championship winners – who’ve won a combined 32 major titles – also in the field, as well as more than half of last year’s Solheim Cup teams will be teeing it up. And that’s all on top of three women – Lydia Ko, Ariya Jutanugarn and So Yeon Ryu – who held the women’s No.1 world ranking at various stages of season 2017. In all, this year’s championship will have 12 of the top-30 women in the rankings assembled at Kooyonga. But here’s the good news for Australian golf fans. There will also be a record number of Australians with full LPGA Tour membership competing in the championship. All seven have great chances to get their hands on the Patricia Bridges Bowl. The youngest Aussie member of LPGA Tour is Hannah Green, who ranks as one of Australia’s most exciting prospects. The 21-year-old West Australian was prominent on America’s second-tier Symetra Tour throughout 2017, posting three victories, winning Rookie of the Year honours and securing her 2018 LPGA Tour card in the process. But what makes Green so impressive is her tenacity and levelheadedness – she never appears flustered or concerned, and she seems to thrive when she finds herself under pressure. Her performance in the Open at Royal Adelaide last year to collect a share of seventh place was extremely promising. And save for a disappointing third round, where she shot a three over 76, she may very well have won the title. Green clearly places a premium on ► Su Oh (left) and Minjee Lee will stamp their claims for a first Australian Open title this week.
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