03 Nov 2023 | Australian Open | Women and girls | Professional golf |
Ruffels and Kemp added to LPGA contingent at ISPS HANDA Australian Open
by Lilly Skacej
Australia’s newest LPGA Tour member and one of the longest standing, are the latest commitments to the ISPS HANDA Australian Open, with Gabi Ruffels and Sarah Kemp today confirming their places in Sydney from November 30. Both enjoying banner years in America, the pair join confirmed starters in the women’s field alongside Hannah Green, Minjee Lee, and Stephanie Kyriacou. A constant presence and 13-time winner on the WPGA Tour of Australasia, Kemp was tied for 19th last year on the Melbourne Sandbelt at the ISPS HANDA Australian Open. The Florida-based, Tuncurry product’s 2023 has been highlighted by a fourth-place finish at October’s The Ascendent LPGA and representing Australia at the Hanwha LIFEPLUS International Crown.
“Coming home to Australia at the end of the year is always such an enjoyable experience, especially to play the Australian Open,” Kemp said. "I'm super excited to play in my home state in front of family and friends at two awesome Sydney golf courses." In contrast to Kemp’s LPGA experience, Ruffels will be a rookie in 2024 after earning her place via the Epson Tour, where she won three times in 2023 at the Carlisle Arizona Women’s Golf Classic, Garden City Charity Classic, and Four Winds Invitational. Setting scoring records and the only Epson Tour player to eclipse the $150,00 mark in earnings this year, Ruffels has been a consistent performer when earning starts at the majors and finished in a tie for 19th at last year’s Australian Open.
“I love coming home to Australia whenever I can, and after a successful year in America, I am really looking forward to the Australian Open in Sydney,” the former U.S. Women’s Amateur winner said. “Playing the Epson Tour this year has been a great experience, and terrific for the development of my game, I can’t think of a better way to finish the year than playing in front of some home crowds.” Ruffels and Kemp will be seeking to become the first Australian woman to claim the Australian Open since Karrie Webb won her fifth title in 2014, while the 2023 event is the first time in Sydney for the women’s event since 2007.
“Gabi and Sarah have been flying the Aussie flag proudly on the international stage this year,” WPGA Tour of Australasia CEO Karen Lunn said. “Having both of them in the field at the Australian Open, alongside major winners like Hannah Green and Minjee Lee, is a great coup for the tournament. “Like all fans, I am very excited to watch all the returning Australian LPGA Tour players at The Australian and The Lakes.” Meanwhile, Cameron Smith, Adam Scott, Cameron Davis, Min Woo Lee, and Lucas Herbert will tee it up in the men’s field of the ISPS HANDA Australian Open after the successful debut of the dual-gender format.
The Australian and The Lakes Golf Clubs share hosting duties in 2023, with the Australian All-Abilities Championship once again part of ISPS HANDA Australian Open week. Playing on the LPGA Tour for the 16th year, Kemp is enjoying her best season yet with three top-10s and 16 cuts made before the 2023 schedule is completed and with her highest annual prizemoney accumulation already achieved. Tickets for both the ISPS HANDA Australian Open and Fortinet Australian PGA Championship are available via ticketek.com.
The ISPS HANDA Australian Open is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW and naming rights partner ISPS HANDA.
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