The Canberra Classic has landed ‘s best female golfer and ALPG boss Karen Lunn hoped its return was a precursor to Royal Canberra again hosting ‘s best female golf tournament.
World No.19 Minjee Lee will tee off in the three-day event on February 9 in the lead up to the n Open in Adelaide the following week.
It won’t be the first time Lee’s played in Canberra – ‘s top-ranked female golfer played for WA in the n Women’s Interstate Teams championship at Gungahlin Lakes four years ago when she was the then world No.1 amateur.
She turned pro later in 2014 and has been playing on the LPGA tour in the USA the last three years.
The 21-year-old has won three LPGA titles and amassed more than $3 million in career prizemoney since.
Now she’ll be one of the main drawcards for the Canberra Classic, with Lunn revealing sponsor ActewAGL had chased the young star to bring her to Royal Canberra.
“It was driven by ActewAGL, they were pretty keen to have her play so we approached her management and arranged a deal,” Lunn said.
“She’s really looking forward to playing the newly redeveloped course at Royal Canberra and start her year off.
“I’m hoping it will create quite a big buzz around the event.”
Lee will join Jiyai Shin, who won the Aussie Open at Royal Canberra in 2013, former world No.1 Laura Davies and 2019 European Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew in the field.
Ladies European Tour order of merit winners from the past two seasons – Beth Allen and Georgia Hall – will also play, along with England’s Melissa Reid.
ns Katherine Kirk, Sarah Jane Smith and Sarah Kemp will also form part of the field.
“I am looking forward to seeing the new re-designed course at the Royal Canberra Golf Club and what challenges it will bring,” Lee said.
“I’ve heard we will be getting a great field including the reigning LET No.1 Georgia Hall, who has secured her card on the LPGA now, along with the great Laura Davies and my fellow compatriot Katherine Kirk, who I enjoy playing with.”
It will be the first time the Canberra Classic has been held since 2012, when it ran for three years in the lead up to Royal Canberra hosting the n Open in 2013 as part of Canberra’s centenary celebrations.
Royal Canberra’s first 18 holes have been completely renovated since then, which was part of the reason for the five-year absence of elite women’s golf in the ACT.
While there’s currently only a one-year agreement in place for the Canberra Classic, Lunn wanted to extend that and she also backed the n Open returning to Royal Canberra’s fairways.
This year’s Open will be held in Adelaide, where it’s expected to be held over the next few years as well.
“I think it’s possibly on the radar. Obviously the event’s in Adelaide for the foreseeable future, but that could change somewhere down the line,” Lunn said.
“This is a small stepping stone to potentially getting that back, but we’re … delighted to have a women’s event back in Canberra this year.”