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28 Oct 2023 | Australian Open | Men's Australian Open | Women's Australian Open |

Trio of ISPS HANDA Australian Open champions returning to defend titles

by Jimmy Emanuel

Australian Open defending champions

In a great coup for the ISPS HANDA Australian Open, and show of support for the world first format, all three champions from 2022 will return this year to defend their titles in Sydney from November 30 to December 3. Adrian Meronk of Poland, Ashleigh Buhai of South Africa and England’s Kipp Popert will all be hoping to keep possession of the trophies they won in 2023 when the Australian Open is hosted by The Australian and The Lakes Golf Clubs. The latest winner on the DP World Tour when he triumphed in Spain last weekend, Meronk is set to tee it up on the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia twice, with the world No.46 also confirmed for the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship at Royal Queensland from November 23. Combining the men’s and women’s Opens, as well as the Australian All Abilities Championship (AAAC), the Australian Open now boasts Cameron Smith, Adam Scott, Hannah Green, Minjee Lee, Min Woo Lee, Cam Davis, Lucas Herbert and Stephanie Kyriacou in addition to the trio of defending champions in the field. “Adrian, Ashleigh and Kipp proved themselves worthy champions of this great event and we are excited to welcome back all three defending champions for the 2023 ISPS HANDA Australian Open,” Golf Australia CEO James Sutherland said. “Adrian, Ashleigh and Kipp proved themselves worthy champions of this great event, and their decision to come back is a tremendous shot in the arm for the combined format in just its second year.” Meronk became the first Polish player to win on the DP World Tour at the 2022 Horizon Irish Open, and is now a four-time winner after claiming the 2022 Australian Open, the 2023 DS Automobiles Italian Open and Sunday’s Andalucia Masters. “I am extremely excited to be heading back to Australia to defend the Stonehaven Cup, as well as returning to Brisbane for the Australian PGA,” Meronk said. “Winning an historic title like the Australian Open and witnessing the innovative format first-hand last year was an amazing experience. “I’m looking forward to exploring Sydney, and hopefully leaving with another trophy after a successful two weeks in Australia.” Ranked No.20 on the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, Buhai became a major champion at the 2022 AIG Women’s Open and added another LPGA Tour title in June at the ShopRite LPGA Classic. The South African is also a five-time winner on the Ladies European Tour. “I have been coming to Australia for a long time and always enjoyed it, especially winning the Australian Open on the Melbourne Sandbelt last year,” Buhai said. “Having played quite a number of Australian Opens now, I’m looking forward to teeing it up in Sydney this year and hopefully getting in contention to hold on to the Patricia Bridges Bowl.” Ranked No.1 on the World Ranking for Golfers with Disability, Popert is fast becoming a regular visitor to Australian shores to contest both the AAAC and Australian Amateur Championship. The Englishman’s win at last year’s AAAC one of five victories on the G4D Tour this season, while he is also seeking to become the tournament’s second back-to-back winner after  Johan Kammerstad achieved the feat in 2018 at The Lakes and 2019 at The Australian. “What Australian golf has done with the Australian All Abilities Championship is a fantastic initiative. I can’t wait to come to Sydney and try to win the tournament for a second time and start the new G4D Tour season strongly,” Popert said. 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. Tickets and Premium Experiences are on sale via Ticketek now.

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