Royal Canberra ready for Women's Open
BY Bruce Young | LPGA Tour | 2013 ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open | Preview | 13 Feb 2013
The ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open gets the 2013 LPGA Tour season this Thursday at the Royal Canberra Golf Club in the nation’s capital.
Royal Canberra, long considered amongst the better courses in the land, has been given the honour of staging the event due mainly to the centenary celebrations in Canberra in 2013 but it is a golf course worthy of playing host to an event of this standing even without a reason.
The field is arguably one of the better assembled in women’s golf in Australia in recent years. The world number one, three, six and eight are lining up along with the class acts of Karrie Webb and Lydia Ko.
The defending champion Jessica Korda is back and Michelle Wie looks to kick start her 2013 season after a year in 2012 she would rather forget.
Tseng is two time winner of the Australian Open and although her apparently unassailable lead in the world ranking at the beginning of 2012 was almost caught late in the season by Na Yeon Choi, she arrives in Australia with a few good finishes late in the season to boots her chances of a third Australian Open title.
Stacy Lewis arrived at this event in 2012 as the number 10 ranked player in the game. Courtesy of her runner-up finish at Royal Melbourne and a season where she won on four occasions and reeled off a series of consistent finishes she became the number two before Na Yeon Choi claimed that position late in the year.
So Yeon Ryu finished off her tournament at the Volvik RACV Ladies Masters with a final round of 69 suggesting she had eliminated much of the early season rust at that event and is primed to play well this week. The US Women’s Open Champion in 2011 and the Rookie of the Year on the LPGA Tour in 2012 who was one of the playoff losers last year could again do very well this week.
Karrie Webb again gave us all a reminder of the great place she holds in both Australian and World golf with a come from behind eighth victory at the recent Australian Ladies Masters. Webb is chasing her 5th Australian Women’s Open title and it could well be that Royal Canberra fits perfectly with her renowned shot making skills.
That Lydia Ko is the most exciting prospect in golf of either gender further was further illustrated by her brilliant victory at the New Zealand Women’s Open last week. Ko is currently the leading ranked amateur in the world and an amazing 30th in the combined rankings.
She has already proven she can defeat a field of this quality with her Canadian Open win last year and with the confidence of her victory in Christchurch very much to the forefront of her mind then it would now be a surprise if the 15 year old is not in contention at some point this week.
Brittany Lincicome was another of the joint runners-up in 2011 and with a further five top tens to her name in 2012 she has to be considered an excellent prospect. The long hitter is a four time winner on the LPGA Tour including a major victory at the Kraft Nabisco.
Chella Choi has yet to win on the LPGA Tour but she is accumulating numerous top ten finishes and the breakthrough must surely come soon. She finished as the joint runner-up at the Volvik RACV Ladies Masters and is capable of contending again. At slightly longer odds she could well be a good bet.
Given the demanding summer faced by Royal Canberra, the golf course is in outstanding condition. A heat wave and lack of rain put the cool season grasses under pressure before a storm hit the area in late January.
The storm came at exactly the wrong time for a crew trying to peak the layout for one of the most significant events in its history but to their credit everyone is now singing the praises of the venue.
Royal Canberra is destined for a major revamp in the not too distant future but it might just be that an event and field of this quality reminds us all of just how good it already is.
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