28 Sep 2023 | Professional golf |

Aussies on Tour: Crunch time for Aussies on the LPGA Tour

by Paul Munnings

Kemp Aussies

After a two-week hiatus, the LPGA Tour returns to action in Arkansas this week with some Australians eyeing off a good result to help their quest to make the end-of-season CME Group Tour Championship.

Results in the last few events of the year can mean the difference between climbing inside or outside the top 60 in the Race to the CME Globe point standings, which is the cut-off point for players who want to punch a ticket to the Tour Championship.

Earn a start there and you’re vying for one of the biggest purses of the year that features a $2 million winner’s cheque.

Three Australians are safely well inside the top 60 – Minjee Lee at No.13, Grace Kim (27th) and Hannah Green (30th).

Kim, the LOTTE Championship winner, is also running second behind Hae Ran Ryu in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year competition with 512 points to the Korean’s 625.

Further down the Race to the CME Globe standings is where two Aussies sit on the edge of qualifying, with Steph Kyriacou currently 59th and Sarah Kemp just outside the top 60 in 68th.

Meanwhile, Karis Davidson (100th) and Sue Oh (117th) are chasing the big week that can turn their year around.

The move into the LPGA Tour’s closing stretch begins with the 17th playing of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G. Held at Pinnacle Country Club, the stop is one of just three 54-hole events on the schedule this year and features a $2.3 million purse.

After the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, the Tour will have one more event in the United States at The Ascendant LPGA benefiting Volunteers of America before embarking on a four-tournament swing in Asia. 

On the Asian Tour, there are 12 Australians in the field for the Taiwan Masters, including Scott Hend who is returning from a victorious Seniors debut in Europe earlier this month and will have fond memories of a win in this event 10 years ago.

After the disappointment of narrowly failing to defend his Yeangder TPC title on Sunday, Travis Smyth goes again this week feeling “like a win is just around the corner”.

He finished second last week, three strokes behind Thailand’s Poom Saksansin, in the first of two back-to-back Asian Tour events in Chinese-Taipei, with this week’s US$1 million tournament being played at Taiwan Golf and Country Club.

“I mean I’m playing good. I’ve been hitting the ball quite nicely for a while so anything can happen,” said Smyth who has moved into third place on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.

“I think I’ve putted poorly here in the past and my putting has been pretty consistent for a while now.

“So hopefully I can improve from previous years just on that alone, but also just like kind of understand the course more, and know when to attack certain pins and when not to.”

There are no PGA TOUR or DP World Tour tournaments this week with attention focussed on the Ryder Cup in Italy.


Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G

Pinnacle Country Club, Rogers, Arkansas

10:37pm* Karis Davidson, Min Lee, Amanda Doherty

10:59pm Lindsey Weaver-Wright, Jenny Shin, Stephanie Kyriacou

11:10pm Alex Pano, Grace Kim, In Gee Chun

11:21pm Maria Fassi, Hannah Green, Hyo Joo Kim

11:32pm Atthaya Thitikul, Lydia Ko (NZ), Danielle Kang

4:32am Sarah Kemp, A Lim Kim, Pajaree Anannarukarn

4:43am Su Oh, Ines Laklalech, Ruixin Liu

5:05am* Kiira Riihijarvi, Magdalena Simmermacher, Sarah Jane Smith

Defending champion: Atthaya Thitiku

Past Aussie winners: Lydia Ko (NZ) (2016).

Epson Tour

Tuscaloosa Toyota Classic

Ol’ Colony Golf Course, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

10:52pm Amelia Garvey (NZ), Savannah Vilaubi, Kaleigh Telfer

10:52pm* Miranda Wang, Hira Naveed, Isabella Fierro

11:25pm Minji Kang, Pinyada Kuvanun, Cassie Porter

11:25pm* Robyn Choi, Clariss Guce, Haylee Harford

Defending champion: Celine Borge

Past Aussie winners: nil.

Asian Tour

Mercuries Taiwan Masters

Taiwan Golf and Country Club, Tamsui, Taiwan

9:15am Jeev Milha Singh, Lee Chieh-po, Kevin Yuan

9:45am Zach Murray, Itthipat Buranatanyarat, Huang Chi

9:20am* Hsieh Chi-hsien, Marcus Fraser, Ben Leong

9:30am* Todd Sinnott, Settee Prakongvech, Hsieh Tung-hung

10:00am* Yonggu Shin, Josh Younger, Lu Chien-soon

10:10am* Douglas Klein, Chikkarangappa S., Liao Huan-jyun

1:30pm Hung Chao-hsin, Jack Thompson, Veer Ahlawat

1:50pm Chapchai Nirat, Andrew Dodt, Kao Lung-jui (a)

1:45pm* Scott Hend, Nitithorn Thippong, Kieran Vincent

2:00pm Terry Pilkadaris, Prom Meesawat, K P Lin

2:15pm* Travis Smyth, Taehee Lee, Berry Henson

2:35pm* Tom Power-Horan, Nicholas Fung, Lin Keng-wei

Defending champion: Chan Shih-chang

Past Aussie winners: Scott Hend (2013)

Japan Golf Tour

Vantelin Tokai Classic

Miyoshi Country Club, Miyoshi, Aichi

9:20am Kota Kaneko, Brad Kennedy, Tomoyasu Sugiyama

10:50am JiHo Yang, Yuki Shino, Brendan Jones

11:00am Anthony Quayle, Kazuki Yamaura, Yuta Kinoshita

11:10am Eric Sugimoto, Ryo Noro, Adam Bland

11:20am Hiroki Tanaka, Dylan Perry, Naoyuki Kaneda

Defending champion: Riki Kawamoto

Past Aussie winners: Graham Marsh (1985 & 1990), Brian Jones (1988)

Ladies European Tour

Lacoste Ladies Open De France

Golf Barriere, Deauville, Normandy

9:46pm* Sarah Schober, Kirsten Rudgeley, Florentyna Parker

Defending champion: Ines Laklalech

Past Aussie winners: Karen Lunn (1997), Lynnette Brooky (NZ) (2002 & 2003), Stacy Keating (2012)

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