26 Oct 2023 | Australian Open |
Grace Kim and Jiyai Shin set for Sydney
by Jimmy Emanuel
Coming to the end of her remarkable rookie season on the LPGA Tour, Australian Grace Kim was today announced as a confirmed starter at the ISPS HANDA Australian Open in Sydney alongside former world No.1 and 2013 champion Jiyai Shin of Korea.
Hosted by The Australian and The Lakes golf clubs, the ISPS HANDA Australian Open will once again feature the dual gender format of men and women playing concurrently, with the Australian All Abilities Championship contested across the same courses during the week.
Also newly locked in for the women’s field headed by major winners Minjee Lee and Hannah Green is this year’s Webex Players Series Murray River winner Sarah-Jane Smith.
Beginning November 30, this year’s Women’s Australian Open marks a triumphant homecoming for Kim following a hugely successful 2023 in America, while Shin returns to Australia, where she has four wins, including the Vic Open in February this year.
Runner-up to Shin at 13th Beach that week, Kim earnt her LPGA Tour card through the Epson Tour in 2022 and wasted no time making her mark on the big stage. The Sydneysider winning the LOTTE Championship presented by Hoakalei in just her third start as an LPGA member.
A former winner of the Australian Amateur and 2018 Youth Olympic Gold medallist, Kim came agonisingly close to capturing the Australian Open in 2022, before eventually sharing fourth behind winner Ashleigh Buhai of South Africa.
“I learnt a great deal being in contention last year at the Australian Open and I can’t wait to come back after my first year on the LPGA Tour to try and win the Patricia Bridges Bowl,” the Avondale Golf Club member said.
“The new format was highly enjoyable last year, and this year’s Open is particularly exciting for me as I will get to play an Australian Open in front of my family and friends in Sydney for the first time.”
A two-time major winner, Shin now plies her trade primarily on the JLPGA in Japan, where she has amassed 30 wins to go along with her 11 LPGA Tour titles.
Making regular trips to Australian shores, and a strong supporter of the WPGA Tour of Australasia throughout her career, Shin was on hand for the debut of the new era of the ISPS HANDA Australian Open in Victoria last year.
The 35-year-old featured on the leaderboard throughout the tournament before ultimately finishing in second, one shot back of Buhai.
“Visiting Australia, and particularly playing the Australian Open, has always been a highlight of my year,” Shin said.
“Finally winning in Victoria at the Vic Open this year was a very special career achievement.
“The Australian Open has always been an important event to me, and I am looking forward to playing two new courses and hopefully contending for another WPGA Tour of Australasia title.”
WPGA Tour of Australasia CEO Karen Lunn said: “Grace has been one of our standout performers on the LPGA Tour this year, and Jiyai has been a tremendous supporter of Australian golf during her career. Having two more proven LPGA winners is a great boost for the ISPS HANDA Australian Open field.
“Having both come close to winning last year, I am sure they have some unfinished business this year and it will be a pleasure to watch them in action at The Australian and The Lakes.
“Sarah-Jane has been an outstanding representative on the LPGA Tour for close to two decades which is a great achievement. Her Webex Players Series win at Cobram-Barooga at the start of the year produced some memorable scenes.”
Tickets for both the ISPS HANDA Australian Open and Fortinet Australian PGA Championship are available via ticketek.com
The ISPS HANDA Australian Open is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW and naming rights partner ISPS HANDA.
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