Ariya Jutanugarn- Leading world ranked player
The Women’s Australian Open is played this week at the Grange Golf Club in Adelaide, the event attracting a considerably stronger field than was the case at last week’s Vic Open at 13th Beach.
Given the opportunity the leading players in women’s golf had to make a statement on equal prize-money and missed last week by participating in the innovative Vic Open it is at least pleasing that more have made the effort to travel to Adelaide.
Four golfers from the top ten of the Rolex World Ranking, Ariya Jutanugarn, Minjee Lee, Georgia Hall and Jin Young Ko make up that group, Jutanugarn, the leading female golfer in the world likely to be the favourite ahead of the event.
Jutanugarn has finished 7th, 3rd and 3rd in her last three visits to the Australian Open, each played on Adelaide courses of similar style to that which is played this week and the battle between her and Lee, who finished runner-up to Jutanugarn on the LPGA Tour money list last season, will be something for the home crowd to savour.
Minjee Lee – her battle with Jutanugarn begins again
Lee was disappointing last week in an event where she was expected to excel having played well at the Vic Open previously. Having played brilliantly for much of 2018 her most recent form has been below that level but a return to an event which she has played so well in recent years might well be the catalyst for sharp improvement.
Georgia Hall won the Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes and is now the 8th highest ranked player in the female game and although a little disappointing at last week’s Vic Open she is developing into a world class player and should improve sharply especially on this style of golf course.
Jin-Young Ko is the other from the top ten in this week’s field and as the defending champion after such an impressive win at the Grange last year and a continuation of that sort of form for much of the year then her chances have to be taken seriously.
The defending champion Jin Young Ko
Lydia Ko had a great record at the Women’s Australian Open earlier in her career but not so much in the past two years. She played well in her only start of the year in the Bahamas in January so she might be approaching better form than she showed for much of 2018.
Amy Yang is a big event player who finished runner-up in this event in 2015 and although she has not played in Australia since her capacity to handle the big time might well work in her favour. She has a great record on tough golf courses and if conditions do get difficult then the Grange will be more than a handful.
Seven years ago Jessica Korda won the Women’s Australian Open at Royal Melbourne and this year her sister Nelly gets the chance to follow that lead. She has turned into a darling of the LPGA Tour with a series of great finishes late in 2018.
Korda’s record at the Australian Open in her two starts to date has not been good but she is a significantly improved player than was the case twelve months ago.
The Women’s Australian Open will be followed by two LPGA Tour events in Asia and a Ladies European and ALPG Tour event in Coffs Harbour in New South Wales.
The Australian Open, though, while perhaps offering less in prize-money than the events in Asia offers the chance to capture one of the female golf’s most coveted titles, made even better by the quality of the golf courses on which it is played.