Rolex World Number 1 golfer Yani Tseng will take on Royal Melbourne Golf Club in the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open from 9-12 February 2012
The composite course will be hosting its first major female professional event.
Tseng, who won the Wegmans LPGA Championship and RICOH Women’s British Open earlier this year, became the youngest player of either gender to win five majors at 22.
“I am so excited about returning to defend my Australian Open title, especially at Royal Melbourne Golf Club. I have heard the course is amazing,” Tseng said.
“I have had a lot of success on the sand belt, especially the past two years. Melbourne is one of my favorite cities and I know a lot of LPGA players are talking about playing the event.”
Australia’s Karrie Webb returns hunting for her fifth Australian Open title after an excellent year on tour including two LPGA victories.
“I am so excited to be playing the Australian Open on the composite course at Royal Melbourne. Although I first played the Australian Amateur on the East Course in 1991 I have never played the composite course before in tournament golf.”
“I am hopeful some LPGA players will make the trip down with it being played at such a world renowned course. We have loved the recent rotation of courses for the Women’s British Open so it is fantastic that we are now playing all our own wonderful sand belt courses”.
“Thank you Golf Australia and Royal Melbourne – what an exciting start to 2012”.
In more great news for the championship, the International Sports Promotion Society (ISPS) through Dr Haruhisa Handa has extended its naming rights sponsorship for two more years while the Victorian Government has committed to supporting the event for three years.
Victorian Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Louise Asher, said it was a great result for Victoria.
“I am delighted to announce that the Coalition Government has secured this world-class event for women’s golf for another three years. The Women’s Australian Open will add to the already impressive line up of major golfing events in Victoria including the prestigious Presidents Cup and the JBWere Masters to be played later this year,” Ms Asher said.
“Not only is this an excellent result for golfers, but it’s another step in maintaining Victoria’s competitive edge as a major events destination as well as profiling our world-class Sand belt golf courses.”
Sport and Recreation Minister Hugh Delahunty said that hosting the event will create greater opportunities to extend the reach of the Golf Australia program and attract new participants in the sport through expanded school and junior programs.
“With nine Victorian golfers participating in the 2011 tournament, I know that all Victorians will again look forward to seeing our female golfing stars out on the course,” Mr Delahunty said.
Golf Australia CEO Stephen Pitt said the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open had continued to grow in recent years.
“Through ISPS, Dr Handa’s support has transformed this championship and we are very grateful to both he and the Victorian Government for their ongoing belief in and desire to see the championship grow,” Pitt said.
“Golf Australia looks forward to welcoming back Yani and Karrie among the star players to take on the challenge that Royal Melbourne Golf Club’s composite course demands,” Pitt said.
“We are continuing to have discussions with a number of players in the top 20 in the world and expect to make more announcements in the months to come. The fans will certainly have every reason to come out and enjoy the entertainment and thrilling golf on offer at Royal Melbourne.”