22 Jan 2024 | Vic Open | Professional golf | Women and girls |
Golf great Karrie Webb to return to Vic Open
by Paul Munnings
Australian golf great Karrie Webb has locked in the Vic Open next week (February 1-4) at 13th Beach Golf Links as her return to tournament golf.
The winner of seven major championships and member of the World Golf Hall of Fame and Sport Australia Hall of Fame is keen to play more events as she approaches her 50th birthday in December this year and will be searching for her 14th win on the WPGA Tour of Australasia.
Webb’s last tournament appearance came 12 months ago at 13th Beach when she finished in a share of 17th place. Although her time on-course has reduced in recent years, she has remained heavily involved in the sport in a number of roles, including as a benefactor and mentor to young Australian golfers and as a course architect.
Karrie Webb said: “The Vic Open is a really enjoyable week for everyone and I’m excited to have the chance to come back to the Bellarine and 13th Beach to play again this year.
“The local community loves the event. They’re fully engaged in making it a great experience.
“Since my first days on tour, Victoria has always been one of my favourite places not only to play tournament golf, but also to see as a tourist. I’m planning on doing both again on this trip, revisiting some favourite places and hopefully seeing some new spots.
“Although I don’t play competitively as often these days, I’m keen to do a little bit more this year if everything falls into place.
“I think I still have the ability to compete if my game is at its best. I’ve been working hard on getting ready for the challenge that 13th Beach provides and look forward to seeing everyone in February.”
Webb joins a Vic Open women’s field that showcases Australia’s best young women professionals and a number of international inclusions headed by defending champion and former world No.1 Jiyai Shin.
Now ranked 15th in the world, Shin had a remarkable 20 top-10 finishes on tours across the world in 2023, highlighted by contending in two majors – the US Women’s Open at Pebble Beach where she was tied for second and the AIG Women’s Open at Walton Heath where she placed third.
Her dominant five-shot win at last year’s Women’s Vic Open was the first of three victories for the year, taking her career win tally to 64 since turning professional in 2005.
Among the other notables on the women’s entry list are:
LPGA Tour member and 2022 Melbourne International champion Karis Davidson;
American Jenny Chang, who has a recent top 10 in a major championship, the 2022 KPMG Women’s LPGA Championship, on her record;
The 2023 Webex Players Series Murray River winner Sarah-Jane Smith;
Japanese LPGA Tour member Shina Kanazawa;
The 2023 Webex Players Series Victoria champion Min A Yoon of Korea; and
England’s Holly Clyburn, who is a two-time winner on the WPGA Tour of Australasia.
The Beach course and the Creek course at 13th Beach, near the town of Barwon Heads, will host men and women competing for equal prizemoney on the same courses at the same time, with $420,000 on offer for each event.
The 2024 Vic Open will also coincide with the Victorian Inclusive Championship for golfers with a disability and the Australian Wheelchair Golf Championship will return for its third year.
The Vic Open is part of an exciting second half of the summer of golf in Australia that includes the New Zealand Open presented by Sky Sports on the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia and two $500,000 tournaments on the WPGA Tour of Australasia – the NSW Women’s Open and Australian Women’s Classic.
Entry to the Vic Open is free for spectators.
The Vic Open is supported by the Victorian Government through Visit Victoria
RECENT VIC OPEN CHAMPIONS
2023: Jiyai Shin (Korea)
2022: Hannah Green (Australia)
2020: Hee Young Park (Korea)
2019: Celine Boutier (France)
2018: Minjee Lee (Australia)
2023: Michael Hendry (NZ)
2022: Dimi Papadatos (Australia)
2020: Min Woo Lee (Australia)
2019: David Law (Scotland)
2018: Simon Hawkes (Australia)
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