A look at some of the top player picks for the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, the lid-lifter on the 2013 LPGA season which begins Thursday at Royal Canberra Golf Club in Yarralumla, Victoria, Australia:
- Lydia Ko: In the last year, the “youngest ever … ” tag has defined the 15-year-old amateur, with wins in the New South Wales Open last January (at age 14, the youngest male or female to win a professional event), the CN Canadian Women’s Open last August (youngest winner in LPGA history) and the New Zealand Women’s Open last week (youngest winner on the Ladies European Tour). So why not another win on the big stage this week? Plus, it would be the first time a native South Korean has won the event (Ko was born in South Korea, before moving to New Zealand), adding to her “first-timer” status.
- Yani Tseng: Tseng hasn’t won on the LPGA since last March, so going back to a place where she has had great success is a plus. The World No. 1 won this event in 2010 and 2011, when she ascended to the top spot, and finished in a tie for eighth last year. She’s a combined 26-under par in the last three years. Plus, she’s paired with Ko and Michelle Wie in the first round to get her pumped.
- Michelle Wie: Coming off a poor 2012 season where she earned a degree from Stanford, Wie said she is totally focused on her golf game. Royal Canberra is said to resemble Augusta National, a course Wie said she dreams of competing on one day in the Masters Tournament. Additionally, her two career LPGA wins came in Mexico and Canada, so another international victory fits.