08 Dec 2020 | Professional golf |
Six Aussies seek richest prize
by Martin Blake
Six Australians will tee it up in the biggest tournament in women’s golf, the US Women’s Open in Texas this week.
They will aim to emulate the past US Women’s Open victories of hall-of-fame Australians Karrie Webb (2000 and 2001) and Jan Stephenson (1983).
The prize pool is $US5.5 million, the biggest in the women’s game.
The tournament will be played on the two courses at the Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas.
This makes it almost a home game for Australia’s top-ranked player Minjee Lee, who has set up her American base in Dallas.
It’s the home club of former Australian great Steve Elkington, who walked the course the other day with a few players including Gabriela Ruffels, who plays her first US Women’s Open as an amateur.
Here’s a form guide for the Australians playing this week:
Has been admirably consistent again this year, sixth on the money list and logging a recent win on the European Tour in Dubai. Arguably the best player in the world without a major win, and she is overdue. Her best result in a major came at Royal Troon this year, where she was third in the AIG Women’s Open. Currently world No. 8 and arguably Australia’s best chance this week.
Already a major winner, world No. 23 Green has been steady in this Covid-interrupted year, but without a top-10 finish. Lost her way late in the Cambia Classic in September, which was her best chance of the season. But never to be counted out.
A young veteran of the tour, the Melburnian has hit some of her best form including T11 last week in the Volunteers of America tournament, after a string of eight missed cuts earlier in the season. Still trying to play her way into the Tour Championship as well, and would not surprise to see her in the mix.
Sarah Jane Smith
Initially struggled for momentum in golf after the birth of her son Theo last year, but more recently has begun playing better again, including two made cuts in a row.
Veteran Queenslander has had one of her best years, albeit without a win. Certainly found some consistency with four top-10 finishes. Would love to cap her 20-year career with her first major victory.
Twenty-year-old amateur gets a start on the back of winning the US Women’s Amateur last year. Was runner-up in the US Am this year, too, and has played relatively well in her professional starts, including a top-five in the Symetra Tour championship. Does not look out of place among the world’s best.
INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS TO WATCH
Sei Young Kim (South Korea) Has risen to world No. 2 and within a breath of going to the top for the first time. The hottest player on tour right now. Jin Young Ko (South Korea) Still world No. 1 despite spending most of the year back at home rather than playing on the US Tour. Nelly Korda (USA) World No. 3 who first played this tournament as a 14-year-old. A phenomenal talent. Danielle Kang (USA) Has already won twice this year and was second at her last start.
WHERE AND WHEN
Champions Golf Club, Texas, (Cypress Creek course and Jack Rabbit course) from Thursday night, AET. Both par 71.
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