|The 2009 champion Gwladys Nocera from France
The ISPS Handa NZ Women’s Open hosted by Christchurch has attracted a world-class field for the championship staged at the Clearwater Golf Club from February 8-10.
It is the strongest field ever assembled for the NZ Women’s Open and the best line up, in terms of world rankings, for any golf event in New Zealand since the World Cup of Golf was staged at Gulf Harbour in 1998.
The previous four champions Gwladys Nocera (2009), Laura Davies (2010), Kristie Smith (2011) and Lindsey Wright (2012) have all confirmed their place in the national open which carries the largest purse for a women’s sporting event in New Zealand.
|World No.1 amateur Lydia Ko will again play in her home tournament
World No.1 amateur Lydia Ko, who rewrote the record books in 2012 by becoming the first New Zealand golfer to win on the LPGA Tour and the youngest in history, is also a confirmed starter.
Following her success, Ko has received a number of invites from tournaments all around the globe and the NZ Women’s Open will be one of only a handful of tournaments she will play at home in 2013.
The star power doesn’t stop with Ko as former Swedish major champions Anna Nordqvist and Sophie Gustafson will play in New Zealand for the first time.
Angela Stanford, who is No.16 in the world, will be the highest ranked in the field. The 35-year-old American is a five-time winner on the LPGA Tour and has finished in the top four places in major championships on three occasions.
Compatriot Cheyenne Woods, the niece of the 14-time major champion Tiger Woods, is another notable player in a field that includes a total of 32 LPGA Tour Players.
The all-star cast will also include European No. 1 Carlota Ciganda who in 2012 enjoyed a record breaking season. Ciganda became the first player since Laura Davies in 1985 to win both the LET Order of Merit and Rookie of the Year Awards in the same season.
The 22-year-old from Pamplona in Spain was also voted ‘Players’ Player of the Year’ for 2012, following her sensational results which included two victories in Holland and China, along with 10 further top 10 finishes from 19 tournaments played.
Dean Murphy, the Chief Executive of New Zealand Golf, believed that the fifth staging of the New Zealand Women’s Open would be the best yet.
“There is no doubt that this is the best field ever assembled for a women’s golf event in New Zealand,” said Murphy.
“That is a great achievement for all who have been involved with this event. We are really proud of how far the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open has come in the past five years and the calibre of this field is testament to quality of this tournament.”
Murphy expected golf fans from around the Canterbury region to come out in force to support Ko as she tries to become the first New Zealand champion of the national open.
“Lydia had such an amazing year in 2012 and was the star attraction at last year’s New Zealand Open. After what she has achieved the support and expectation on her performance has increased markedly.
“I am sure there will be huge interest in the performance of Lydia and the other Kiwis as they try to beat world-class golfers in front of their home fans.”
Tickets are available at the gate.