22 Jul 2021 | Professional golf |

Ten gold medal contenders for Brisbane 2032

by PGA of Australia

Brisbane 2032 sign lights up in front of the city.

By Tony Webeck

Eleven years can be a lifetime in sport yet for our young golfers now making their way into the professional game Brisbane 2032 is now a career ambition they can set their minds to.

As we prepare to support Team Australia’s quest for Olympic golf gold in Tokyo starting on July 29, the announcement that Brisbane and south-east Queensland will be the host city for the 2032 Olympic Games will provide further fuel to Aussie golfers with aspirations to tee it up at Royal Queensland Golf Club in pursuit of Olympic gold.

Making history next week as the first two-time Olympic golf competitor from Australia, current world No.14 Minjee Lee will be 36 years of age at the time of Brisbane 2032, raising the prospect of qualifying for the Olympic team alongside her brother, Min Woo.

Recent winner of the abrdn Scottish Open, Min Woo Lee will be 34 when the Olympics comes to RQ and is part of a new generation of Aussie golf stars currently emerging in world golf.

Of Australia’s four golf representatives this year – Lee, Hannah Green, Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith – Leishman is the elder statesman at 37 years of age.

Using that as a guide, these are the five men and five women who will be at the right age to push for Olympic selection in 2032.


Lucas Herbert

Age at Brisbane 2032: 36

Bio: Already the fourth-highest ranked Australian in the Official World Golf Rankings, the 25-year-old is a two-time winner on the European Tour in two of their marquee events. He won the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in 2020 and added the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open earlier this month. Will have his eyes on Olympic selection for Paris 2024.

Min Woo Lee

Age at Brisbane 2032: 34

Bio: With one Olympian already in the family, Min Woo will turn 23 on July 27 and is beginning to accrue the results his talent always promised. The 2016 US Junior Amateur champion, Lee registered his first win as a professional at the 2020 Vic Open and qualified for the 2021 Open Championship by virtue of his victory at the Scottish Open. Like Herbert, Lee has recently moved inside the top 100 in the world rankings.

Elvis Smylie

Age at Brisbane 2032: 30

Bio: Still just 19 years of age, the combination of Smylie’s amateur accomplishments and determination to reach the top in world golf made his move into the professional game in February one of the most eagerly anticipated in recent years. In four starts since turning professional Smylie has two top-three finishes and has recently taken up sponsor invitations to play the European Tour.

Karl Vilips

Age at Brisbane 2032: 30

Based in the US since 11 years of age, Vilips’ accomplishments sometimes slip under the radar but he has amassed an amateur resume that is the envy of many. Currently a freshman at Stanford University – the alumnus of none other than Tiger Woods – Vilips has been ranked as high as No.9 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings and is a two-time Junior Presidents Cup representative. He was a four-time Rolex Junior All American and represented the Australian team at the 2019 Asia Pacific Amateur. Vilips has also tasted Olympic victory, winning the Youth Olympic golf competition in Argentina in 2018.

Louis Dobbelaar

Age at Brisbane 2032: 30

Bio: Under the guidance of Grant Field, coach of Australia’s top-ranked player Cameron Smith, Dobbelaar is preparing for the professional ranks by ticking off many of the most significant amateur tournaments on the planet. The 2021 Australian Amateur champion has won the Dogwood Invitational and North and South Amateur in the US this year to be the highest-ranked Australian male player at No.33 in the World Amateur rankings. His best finish in a professional event to date is a tie for third at the TPS Sydney at Bonnie Doon in March.


Minjee Lee

Age at Brisbane 2032: 36

Bio: Given her accomplishments already to date – including five wins on the LPGA Tour – it is astonishing to consider that Minjee Lee could be a 36-year-old five-time Olympian at the Brisbane Olympics. Lee was tied for seventh at Rio De Janiero in 2016 and enters the Tokyo Games as a genuine gold medal prospect. Currently 25 years of age, Lee could even be a potential flag-bearer if she competes also at the Paris and Los Angeles Olympic Games.

Hannah Green

Age at Brisbane 2032: 35

A year the junior of her Tokyo Olympic teammate, Green has already exhibited a major championship mentality and is developing a high level of consistency with each year on the LPGA Tour. Something of a surprise winner of the 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, Green added a second LPGA Tour win at Portland two months later to further establish her credentials. After a vigorous summer working with coach Ritchie Smith in Perth, Green has recorded three top-three finishes this season and at one point was the highest-ranked Australian in either the men’s and women’s rankings.

Gabi Ruffels

Age at Brisbane 2032: 32

After a switch from tennis to golf as a teenager, Ruffels has experienced an accelerated golf education that has included a history-making US Women’s Amateur victory, a runner-up finish in her title defence and three top-20 results in major championships. After a stellar collegiate career at University of Southern California Ruffels made the decision to turn pro in February this year and has already ranked as high as 121st in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.

Stephanie Kyriacou

Age at Brisbane 2032: 31

The newest start in Australian women’s golf, Kyriacou won her first Ladies European Tour event while still an amateur, going on to be crowned the 2020 LET Rookie of the Year. Picking up where she left off, finishing inside the top 15 in each of her first four starts before breaking through for her first win as a professional, going wire-to-wire at the Big Green Egg Open in the first week of July. With an extraordinary ability to go low, Kyriacou’s rapid ascension shows no signs of slowing down.

Grace Kim

Age at Brisbane 2032: 31

Grace Kim has won three professional events in 2021, yet the 20-year-old is yet to turn professional. The 2021 Australian Amateur champion from Avondale Golf Club in Sydney has been a prolific winner all throughout her amateur career and is tipped to make a smooth transition into the professional ranks when that time soon comes. Like Vilips, Kim was also a Youth Olympic gold medallist in Argentina in 2018.

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