02/18/2018 – Update: ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open Results
Sunday at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, Jin Young Ko became just the second person to ever win on the LPGA Tour in her debut as a member and the first since 1951.
The 22-year-old is no stranger to the winner’s circle, having won on the LPGA Tour a year ago as a non-member. This week she seemed to be on autopilot, winning wire-to-wire.
Ko fired a 3-under-par 69 on Sunday and won by three over fellow South Korean Hyejin Choi. She began her day with two-straight birdies and didn’t look back at any point, despite two bogeys on her front nine. She said it finally set in that she was going to win the tournament on the 17th hole.
Ko was one of nine South Koreans to win on the LPGA Tour a year ago and is the second in a row to win in Adelaide after Ha Na Jang in 2017.
Preview of the 2018 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open by Tony Jesselli
The Australian Open has had a history of very close finishes. In fact, Ha Na Jang’s three-shot victory last year over (then a non-LPGA member) Nanna Koerstz Madsen tied for the largest margin of victory in the history of this event.
Things have certainly changed since last year, as Madsen is now a 2018 LPGA rookie and Jang is no longer a member of the LPGA Tour.
This is tournament #2 of 33 on this year’s LPGA schedule.
KEY DETAILS OF THE 2018 WOMEN’S AUSTRALIAN OPEN
Course: Kooyonga Golf Club
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Defending Champion: Ha Na Jang
Winning Score: 70-73-70-69 = 282 (-10)
*The ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open has been extended for an additional three years in South Australia.
The Women’s Australian Open
Final Field: 132 players
My strength of field rating is 46% (up from 44% last year). Forty-four of the top 75 players from the LPGA Priority List and 19 of the top 50 players in the Rolex Rankings will be in attendance. The field will be led this week by So Yeon Ryu, Ariya Jutanugarn, Cristie Kerr, and Lydia Ko. Star players from other tours include Ayaka Wantanabe, Hye-Jin Choi, Ha Na Jang, and Jiyai Shin. Players skipping the event include Sung Hyun Park, Lexi Thompson, Shanshan Feng, In Gee Chun, Amy Yang, Stacy Lewis, Michelle Wie, Jessica Korda, and Amy Yang.
TV BROADCAST TIMES
Here are the television times: (16-hour time differential between East Coast and Australia)
Wednesday, Feb 14 – GC 9:00 PM – 2:00 AM ET
Thursday, Feb 15 – GC 10:00 PM – 2:00 AM ET
Friday Feb 16 – GC 10:00 PM – 2:00 AM ET
Saturday Feb 17 – GC 9:00 PM – 2:00 AM ET
Players Most likely to win: (Top players in the field)
So Yeon Ryu – Current #3 player in the world could take over the top spot with a win.
Ariya Jutanugarn – Ranked #7 in the world.
Cristie Kerr – Needs 5 more points to gain Hall of Fame entry.
Players to watch out for: (I’m feeling it this week)
Brooke Henderson – Her game is in tip-top shape.
Jin-Young Ko – Will impress in her first start as an LPGA member.
Hye-Jin Choi – This non-LPGA member is ready to win now!
Longshot Picks: (Not likely, but not impossible)
Nelly Korda – Because the Kordas have this thing about Australia.
Hannah Green – Would love to win one in front of her hometown fans.
Karrie Webb – Does she have one more left in the tank?
Tony Jesselli is the author of the very popular blog TONY’S LPGA REPORT, which has been covering tour and player news since 2010. Every week Tony reports on the latest news and results from women’s professional golf around the world and previews upcoming tournaments with player news, the strength of field ratings, and TV times. It has earned the reputation as the ‘go-to’ resource for up to date and accurate news about the LPGA.