Minjee Lee (Photo: Paul Shire)

Our 2019 ALPG Tour and 2019 ALPG ClubCar Series will kick off on 4th January 2019 with an exciting new pro-am on our schedule, The Blitzgolf Curlewis, where 20 ALPG professionals will join 40 of their counterparts from the PGA in what should be a fun-filled, action-packed day.
Blitzgolf is a relatively new format of the game but so far has received fantastic feedback and reviews.
ALPG is excited to be involved in this innovative new format of the game, while our traditional events are without a doubt the lifeblood of our tour it is important that we follow the lead of those women’s sports which have successfully embraced shorter formats of the game such as the WBBL Cricket and the Fast5 Netball.

Also, for the first time in our history ALPG will be holding a Qualifying Tournament, where players from tours across the world will visit our shores to compete for exemptions into all of our major tournaments in 2019.
The Qualifying Tournament will be played over 54- holes at the stunning Ballarat Golf Club just over an hour west of Melbourne in Victoria’s Goldfields from 28th – 30th January, and we are delighted to have such a high-class venue and facility hosting our maiden Qualifying Tournament.
The winner of the Qualifying Tournament will receive an exemption into the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, the leading 10 players will receive exemptions into the Vic Open while the leading 15 players will receive exemptions into the Australian Ladies Classic Bonville, the ActewAGL Canberra Classic and the NSW Women’s Open.

The Qualifying Tournament will lead straight into the ALPG Ballarat Icons Pro-am, a 36-hole event which will be played over the weekend of the 2nd and 3rd February 2019.
Earlier this year the ALPG Ballarat Icons Pro-am attracted a high-class field of professionals from 18 different countries, and we are confident that this will again be the case in 2019 as some of the world’s best golfers look for an opportunity to sharpen their games heading into our major events.
Day one of the pro-am will be a traditional event with three amateurs players playing alongside one ALPG professional, while day 2 will see just the professional players competing for the $30,000 prizemoney on offer.
We are very excited to be playing this event again in 2019 after a fantastic pro-am earlier in 2018, and a big thank you must go out to ALPG member Ange Tatt, and the Ballarat Golf Club board for their support and vision to host not only our ALPG Pro-am but also host our Qualifying Tournament and our Next Generation Rookie Camp in 2019.

From the Goldfields the ALPG heads just an hour down the highway to the Bellarine Peninsula to the stunning 13th Beach Resort in Barwon Heads for the 2019 Vic Open.
The Vic Open continues to go from strength to strength each year, thanks to the fantastic support from both the State government in Victoria and the City of Geelong.
We have seen the prizemoney continue to grow each year for both the men and the women events, in 2014 each field was playing for $150,000 in prizemoney while in 2019 both the men and the women will each be competing for 10 times that amount, with a total purse of $3 million in prizemoney making it the richest golf tournament in Australia.
In 2019 the men’s event will be jointly sanctioned between the PGA of Australia and the European Tour which is great news, and we can expect to see some big names from Europe featuring in both the men’s and women’s draws.
Golf Victoria have done an outstanding job with this event and have created a really unique concept which has captured headlines all over the world and which the players, stakeholders and fans all love being a part of.

From the Bellarine Peninsula, the tour heads west to the city of churches for what is the pinnacle of the ALPG Tour, the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.
In 2019 the tournament will be held from 14th – 17th February at the Grange Golf Club in Adelaide, where many of the world’s leading players including defending champion Jin Young Ko will compete for a share the of US$1.3 million prizemoney on offer.
Our leading players Minjee Lee, Sarah Jane Smith, Su Oh, Katherine Kirk, Hannah Green and Sarah Kemp will all be trying to get their names on the prestigious Patricia Bridges Bowl for the first time, while ALPG and LPGA legend Karrie Webb is expected to tee up in 2019 attempting to win the title for a record 6th time.

It is certainly exciting for the women professionals to be playing such a prestigious event here in Australia for this level of prizemoney, and quite unique in the sporting world for the women’s event to carry a higher level of prizemoney than its men’s equivalent.
There is no doubt that the tournament will once again attract a world class field, a direct benefit of having the powerhouse that is the USLPGA Tour as a sanctioning partner.
Golf Australia have done a wonderful job in securing another three-year deal to play the Open in Adelaide, in 2016 the tournament was held at The Grange Golf Club, in 2017 at Royal Adelaide Golf Club and 2018 at Kooyonga Golf Club.

From Adelaide we will head to the mid-north Coast of NSW to Coffs Harbour for the second edition of the Australian Ladies Classic Bonville, which will be held at “Australia’s Augusta” Bonville Golf Resort, from 21st – 24th February. The event earlier this year was a great success, and a big thanks must go out to Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser and NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro for their support in gaining the necessary funding from Destinations NSW to secure not only this event but also the NSW Women’s Open.
Golf NSW CEO Stuart Fraser and Government Relations Manager Bernard Bratusa should also be commended on their vision and for all of their hard work in securing funding for 5 years for both events.
I am sure our ALPG members and international visitors will once again enjoy the stunning beaches, rainforests and restaurants that Coffs Harbour has to offer.

From Coffs Harbour the ALPG Tour will head to our National Capital, Canberra, for the ActewAGL Canberra Classic held at Royal Canberra Golf Club from 1st – 3rd March.

The ActewAGL Canberra Classic will once again be a 54-hole event with prizemoney of AUD$150,000 on offer.
A big thanks must go out to our title sponsor ActewAGL, and our other sponsors Audi Centre Canberra, The Doma Hotel Group, Drummond Golf, University of Canberra, Cutter and Buck, Revo, Volvik and Bing Lee for their continued support of both the ALPG and this tournament.
The final round will see the leading fifty professionals battle it out for the trophy; already we have commitments from defending champion and current world number 25 Jiyai Shin, ALPG stars Rebecca Artis, Sarah Kemp, Steph Na and Whitney Hillier along with former World Number 1 and Australian Open champion, legend Dame Laura Davies.
We are also expecting a host of other European stars to commit to the tournament in the coming weeks and months as they get set for tilt at making the European Team to take on defending champions USA at the Solheim Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland in September 2019.
Canadian LPGA star Lorie Kane has also committed to play, and will be joined by QLD amateur star Cassie Porter who has gained an exemption by virtue of her victory at the 2018 Ian Baker Finch Junior Classic. In addition, two of Australia’s elite amateur squad will be competing in the event.

From Royal Canberra the players will have a very short trip across the border to Queanbeyan Golf Club for the NSW Women’s Open, which will be held over 72-holes from 7-10th March with $150,000 in prizemoney up for grabs.
It will certainly be a pleasant change for the players to be in the same region for two weeks in a row providing our ALPG stars and international visitors with the opportunity to visit the many fantastic attractions which the ACT and the NSW Southern Tablelands have to offer.
The tournament will look to attract a very similar field to the ActewAGL Canberra Classic held the previous week, as is the case with the Australian Ladies Classic Bonville it will also be officially co-sanctioned on the Ladies European Tour.

The following week the ALPG Tour heads offshore to beautiful New Caledonia for the second edition of the Sheraton Deva New Caledonia Women’s International Pro-am, where 40 players will be competing for $40,000 prizemoney on offer.
The 2018 event was the first time an ALPG event was held in the Pacific Islands and the players thoroughly enjoyed both the course, the hospitality and the surroundings of the magnificent Sheraton Deva Resort.
There will also be amateur packages available to participate in the pro-am, please go to Pacific Golf Managements website www.pacificgolf.co.nz or call phone Richard Ellis +64 21989996 for more information.

The tour then heads to Brisbane to McLeod Country Golf Club for the fifth edition of the Brisbane Invitational, which will be played over two days on the 18th and 19th March, with day two being the professional individual event played for a purse of $30,000.
Our good friends at McLeod Country Golf Club eventually hope that the pro-am will prove to be a stepping stone to bring a major women’s professional tournament to Brisbane sometime in the near future.

The Tour then heads south down the M1 to gorgeous Yamba for the Yamba G&CC ALPG Tour pro-am. This will mark the sixth edition of the pro-am and without doubt it is one of the most popular venues for our members and visitors with its pristine beaches and holiday atmosphere.
The pro-am will be played for prizemoney of $20,000 and will also be the final event of the 2019 ClubCar Series, which has a bonus pool of $15,000 up for grabs for our members across the ALPG Tour Pro-ams, ActewAGL Canberra Classic and the NSW Women’s Open.

We look forward to seeing you at one or more of our events in 2019, if you are interested in playing in any of our pro-ams or plan to come to watch one of our major events please feel free to contact me at karenl@alpg.com.au.

I would like to thank our tournament partners, venues and stakeholders for their ongoing support and wish all of the readers of Inside Golf a very Merry Christmas!

 

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