02 Jul 2021 | Golf Australia |
Aussie golfers locked in for Tokyo Olympics
The Australian Olympic Committee has announced the four-person Golf Team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, with Rio Olympian Minjee Lee named for her second Games, and Hannah Green, Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith to make their Olympic debut.
The golfers secured their spots for Tokyo with their world ranking, with Lee (14), Green (15), Smith (28) and Leishman (34) the top ranked Australians on tour.
Lee, who finished seventh at Rio 2016, is a five-time winner on the LPGA Tour, with two top-10 finishes already in the 2021 season. Green has already produced four top-10 finishes on the LPGA Tour this season including a runner-up spot in the Women’s World Championships in April, and became just the third Australian woman to win a major when she took out the Women’s PGA Championship in 2019.
Leishman and Smith have both performed on golf’s biggest stages, with Smith runner up at the 2020 Masters and Leishman finishing top five at the Masters this year. The pair teamed up to win the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in April and will join forces again as Australia’s two male golfers at Tokyo 2020.
Chef de Mission for the Australian Olympic Team for Tokyo Ian Chesterman congratulated the golfers on their selection.
“We’re absolutely delighted to name these four wonderful golfers to the Australian Olympic Team for Tokyo,” Mr Chesterman said. “Congratulations to Minjee, Hannah, Cameron and Marc, it’s fantastic to have you on the Team.
“These four athletes have shown they can compete at the highest level and I know they will represent Australia with distinction both on and off the golf course.
“We’re so excited to have Golf on the Olympic programme, it will be huge in Japan and there will be millions of Aussie fans cheering them on from back home.
“Today is a time to celebrate not just for the players but for their family, friends, coaches, supporters and everyone at Golf Australia who has helped them reach this Olympic milestone.”
Green, who is currently in hotel quarantine after competing overseas, was excited to be named as Australia’s third ever female Olympic golfer.
“I’m super-happy to be going to Tokyo and I can’t wait to get there,” Green said. “It’s very cool to have it set in stone after all that time trying to qualify.
“[Rio Olympians] Minjee, Su Oh and I are close. We grew up playing junior golf together and we’ve graduated to professional golf together as well and now we’re Olympians. That sounds pretty special.
“In Tokyo there are 60 great players in the field and we’ll be hoping for a good result. I’ve made a point of coming home to get myself rested and prepared so that I can get my best result in Tokyo.”
The 37-year-old Leishman sees competing at an Olympics as a unique opportunity.
“Growing up as a golfer you never thought about representing your country in the Olympics,” Leishman said.
“To be able to have an opportunity to represent your country is a massive honour something that I'm excited for. It would be such an awesome thing to be able to bring home a medal for your country.
Queenslander Smith, 27, said he loved competing in Japan on tour and was looking forward to playing in Tokyo again.
“Just being a part of the Olympic squad is a fantastic feeling,” Smith said. “It's something that I didn't really think that we ever had a chance of doing growing up.
“Any chance I get to put on the Australian flag and put on the green and gold I’m there, I’m super pumped.”
Golf Australia CEO James Sutherland welcomed today’s announcement.
"We're excited to see what these four terrific athletes can do to represent both golf and the Australian Olympic Team in Tokyo,” Sutherland said.
"Minjee, Hannah, Marc and Cameron are not only outstanding golfers; they are superb ambassadors for our sport and we know that the golfing community in particular will be watching them with great interest at the Games and hoping that we can secure our first Olympic medal in the sport.
The Golf competition will run from 29 July – 1 August (men) and 4-7 August (women) at the Kasumigaseki Country Club.
Today’s announcement takes the number of athletes selected to 381 of an expected 450 - 480 team size. Catch all the latest team info, stats and athlete bios at www.olympics.com.au/games/tokyo-2020/team/
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