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Golf Australia Express : Issue 22
MELBOURNE PLAYS host to a galaxy of stars for the LPGA’s season-opening Women’s Australian Open this week. It’s a year of firsts for the annual event which now has LPGA sanctioning and a record $1.1 million prize purse. The famed Royal Melbourne Composite Course will stage the impending battle between the world’s best in the 21st staging of the Women’s Australian Open. In fact, six of the top 10—Yani Tseng, Suzann Pettersen, Cristie Kerr, Jiyai Shin, Stacy Lewis and Brittany Lincicome—will be joined by European charges Laura Davies, Sophie Gustafson, Melissa Reid and Caroline Hedwall. Add a few more names like Karrie Webb, Morgan Pressel and new LPGA Tour member Lexi Thompson and this year’s national championship is shaping up as one of the classiest events staged on Aussie soil. KARRIEWEBB’S a quick starter on Tour. In the seven-time major winner’s 17-seasons out there, not many have been without an early season win. Last year the 37-year-old secured two LPGA titles before the end of March and with her impressive record for winning in Australia, Webb must be a genuine threat to snare her fifth Women’s Australian Open around RM. She’s fresh from a break and loves playing on Melbourne’s sandbelt courses. STACEY KEATING is improving. After a sluggish start to her rookie year on the LET in 2011, the 25-year-old Victorian flew home with four late-season top 10s under her belt. With renewed confidence in her game, the 2010 Australian Amateur champion’s current form looks good, too. Two Pro-Am wins places her second on the ALPG Tour’s money list. With the attention on the big names in the field, it’s the perfect place for Keats to bob up and claim her first big win. OTG THE EVENT WHO TO WATCH KARRIE WEBB (AUS) STACEY KEATING (AUS) PEEK THE ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open February 9-12, 2012 Royal Melbourne Golf Club, Victoria, AUSTRALIA Purse: $1,100,000 Defending Champ: Yani Tseng (TWN) HANDA IT TO THEM What’s happening on the ALPG Tour this week