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  • Writer's picturePiers Manktelow


The ISPS HANDA WOMEN'S AUSTRALIAN OPEN starts tomorrow and we give you a quick run down of who we expect to see challenge at the top of the leaderboard.

Ha Na Jang (Above) from South Korea is the defending champion going into the event. Since her victory she has actually returned to the Klpga tour for personal reasons. This will be her first LPGA event in 9 months, but you can never back against a defending champion (look at the Bahamas Classic last week)

The 2 winners on the LET (Ladies European Tour) this year (both tournaments have been in Australia) have been Australian Minjee Lee who stormed to victory in the first tournament of the year and followed it up with a 2nd place finish last week including a stunning round of 63! However she was pipped to victory by Jiyai Shin of South Korea who finished with a round of 64 to beat Minjee and earn her 50th Career win! Both of these women are in sensational form and will be hard to beat.

This is the 2nd LPGA event of the year and Wei-Ling Hsu (below) will look to go one better than her 2nd place finish at the Bahamas Classic. She finished 2 shots behind winner Brittany Lincicome. The Taiwanese golfer is looking for her first LPGA victory. Finishing 6th in that tournament was Nelly Korda the younger sister of Jessica. She had a strong season last year and the 19 year old looks to improve going into 2018 (one of our 10 to watch for 2018).

World number 3 So Yeon Ryu from South Korea will look to get her season off to a great start here in Australia, she had 2 victories last year and will look to surpass that. Also in the top 10 in the world playing this week are world number 9 Cristie Kerr and world number 7 Ariya Jutanugarn. Ariya along with her sister Moriya from Thailand didn't have the best finish in the Bahamas but they finished the 2017 season strongly so will be competitors here. Some have tipped younger sister to outdo Ariya this year for the first time. It will be a great battle to watch.

Two youngsters to watch out for are Canadian Brooke Henderson (20) and Georgia Hall (21) from England making her LPGA debut after earning her tour card at the end of last season. Brooke finished 9th in the Bahamas and was a little unlucky being out on the course in the worst of the windy conditions. She should continue her good start to the season. Georgia had an amazing season in 2017 winning the LET Order of Merit, dazzling everyone on her Solheim Cup debut and earning her LPGA Tour card. She has started the season well with a 3rd and 9th place finish so far in Australia.

Finally 2 other players who have started the season very well and should contend here at the Australian open are local girl Hannah Green and Swedish star Pernilla Lindberg. Hannah who backed up an 11th place finish in the Bahamas with a 3rd place finish at the Oates Vic Open. She is a rookie on the LPGA this year with high expectations.

Pernilla has had a great start playing in the Bahamas and the 2 tournaments on the LET/ALPG, no one has really played more golf. She has had finises of 26th, 5th and 4th respectively and is our tip to bring home the crown for Sweden this week.

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