The results achieved by amateur golfers in recent womenâ€™s tournaments in Australia and New Zealand have been a talking point around the worldâ€™s media.
The amateurs will again be out to upstage a quality field of their professional counterparts in the Womenâ€™s Victorian Open at Barwon Headsâ€™ Thirteenth Beach Golf Links. While thereâ€™s a strong international flavor to the tournament, with 10 players who have won tournaments on the Ladies European Tour, the field also boasts two of the worldâ€™s top 20 ranked women amateurs â€“ Victorian pair Su-Hyun Oh and Grace Lennon.
Teenage sensation Oh â€“ who qualified for the Australian Womenâ€™s Open as a 12-year-old - has attracted headlines for her results in two major events on the Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour. The 16-year-old finished tied for second behind her idol Karrie Webb at the Volvik RACV Ladies Masters at Royal Pines after leading the tournament into the final day.
She then backed that up with a top 10 finish at the New Zealand Open, the tournament won by the worldâ€™s No.1 ranked female amateur Lydia Ko. She is playing in this weekâ€™s ISPS Handa Australian Open at Royal Canberra.
Oh, who was born in South Korea and moved to Australia with her family in 2004, is currently the world No.4 ranked female amateur. In last yearâ€™s Womenâ€™s Vic Open, Oh finished a respectable tied for sixth, five shots behind the winner Frenchwoman Joanna Klatten. Given her recent form at professional level - and the success of Ko - she would have to be rated among the main contenders next week.
Lennon, who turned 21 at the start of the year, is a VIS Scholarship holder who shared medalist honors with Ko at last monthâ€™s Australian Womenâ€™s Amateur Championship. A member of the famous Kingston Heath Golf Club, Lennon is currently the world No.17 ranked female amateur.
Oh and Lennon are among 26 amateurs in the womenâ€™s field, which boasts a large number of international players â€“ headlined by two of the gameâ€™s greats in Brit Laura Davies and Swede Sophie Gustafson. The list of European Tour tournament winners includes Victorian Stacey Keating, who triumphed twice last year and comes from the Western District town of Cressy.
Tournament director David Greenhill said the quality of amateurs in the womenâ€™s field would ensure some high standard of golf is played around the challenging 13th Beach lay-out.
He said another player to watch is Victorian state squad captain Jo Charlton, who defeated Ko during the match play format of the Australian Amateur title on her way to a quarter-final result.
The Womenâ€™s Victorian Open will be played on the Creek Course at 13th Beach â€“ designed by Tony Cashmore and Nick Faldo â€“ for the first two days before being played simultaneously with the menâ€™s Open field on the Beach Course for the final two rounds.
Both events are playing for $150,000 in prizemoney respectively.