LPGA IN THE LAND DOWN UNDER
The LPGA Tour’s second event of 2018 showcases the southern coast of Australia for the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. In its seventh year as an official LPGA event, the 2018 edition of the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open will be held for the first time at the Kooyonga Golf Club in Adelaide, South Australia.
The 2017 tournament at Royal Adelaide Golf Club was one to remember, as champion Ha Na Jang made a huge splash in the final round making three birdies and a memorable eagle in her final six holes to forge clear of a huge pack to win her fourth LPGA Tour title.
10 of the top 25 players in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings are competing this week, including So Yeon Ryu, Ariya Jutanugarn, Cristie Kerr, Lydia Ko, Hye Jin Choi, Brooke Henderson, Minjee Lee, Jin Young Ko, Moriya Jutanugarn and Jiyai Shin.
This week also marks the debuts of three LPGA rookies, Aussie native Rebecca Artis, European Solheim Cup star Georgia Hall and 2017 LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship winner Jin Young Ko.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DEFENDING CHAMPION HA NA JANG
- Her victory at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open was her fourth career win on the LPGA Tour - 2016 Coates Golf Championship Presented by R+L Carriers, 2016 HSBC Women’s Champions, 2016 Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship, 2017 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open
- Jang rescinded her LPGA membership in May 2017 to be closer to her family in Korea and play on the KLPGA Tour, where she has collected eight career victories
- Currently No. 30 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings
- After Brittany Lincicome’s successful Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic title defense, Jang will look for her first successful title defense this week in Australia
Jang met with the media on Tuesday in Australia, and was all smiles as she reflected on her 2017 victory in Australia. “I feel really comfortable [in Australia],” she said. “I don’t know why. People are kind, the country is really good, the weather is perfect, not really humidity and the golf courses are really nice, so I think that’s why it’s good.”
AUSTRALIA IS LAP TWO IN RACE TO THE CME GLOBE
This week’s ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open marks the second lap of the 2018 Race to the CME Globe. With her win at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic Brittany Lincicome took the early lead in the Race to CME Globe.
Throughout the season’s 33 official events, LPGA Members will battle for position, with the top 12 players after the Blue Bay LPGA heading into the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship with the opportunity to take home a $1 million bonus, the biggest prize in women’s golf.
All tournaments have the same point values except for the five major championships, which carry 25 percentmore value. For all events with a cut, points are awarded to members who make the cut, while for events without a cut, points are awarded to members who finish in the top 40 and ties.
Points will be reset for the CME Group Tour Championship following the Blue Bay LPGA, with the top 72 LPGA Members, as well as any non-Member winners and alternates, seeded into the championship field. For the top five players, it’s easy – win the CME Group Tour Championship and take home $1 million. However, the top 12 in the points race all have a mathematical chance to take the title of Race to the CME Globe Champion and win the coveted check.
In 2017, Lexi Thompson became the first American winner of the Race to the CME Globe and the accompanying $1 million prize. She joined Lydia Ko (2014, 2015) and Ariya Jutanugarn (2016) as the only players to hoist the crystal trophy.
HENDERSON HAPPY TO HAVE FAMILIAR FACES BEHIND HER
Brooke Henderson will have at least one familiar face following her this week at the Kooyonga Golf Club: an Aussie fan and aspiring golfer named Mackenzie, who first met Brooke at last year’s ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.
“She’s so cute and I love seeing here there,” Henderson said on Tuesday. “She’s going to come over this weekend. She messaged me. I’m very excited to see her.”
Mackenzie may be one of Brooke’s good luck charms, as she was also in the gallery at the MCKAYSON New Zealand Women’s Open when Brooke took home her second title of the 2017 season.
“She brought me and my sister goods as well; she’s a really big fan and she’s a great little girl, so hopefully she can continue to get better at golf and continue to come out and support us.”
WICKED TUNA - LPGA EDITION
While some players spent the weekend adjusting to the time change, 20-year old Megan Khang and 2018 LPGA rookie Robynn Ree were getting up close and personal with one of the fastest fish in the ocean: the Southern Bluefin Tuna.
Watch video of their experience here: https://www.facebook.com/LPGA/videos/10155057465230684/