Twelve players in Australia’s new era of women professional golfers are locked in for The Athena, a ground-breaking tournament set to take place on February 24-25 at Peninsula Kingswood Country Golf Club.
The Athena is golf done differently. Each of the players will face nine skills-based challenges on day one with the top eight players on the points tally proceeding to the matchplay play-offs on the second day.
Returning to The Athena stage will be New South Wales product Kelsey Bennett, who put an exclamation point on an outstanding rookie season on the LET Access Series with a tie for fourth at the Santander Golf Tour-Zaragoza - her fourth consecutive top-10 finish and sixth for the season on the European development tour.
Joining Bennett will be Queenslander Cassie Porter. Porter dove into her Rookie season on the Futures Tour in the United States, finishing T4 in her first tournament of the season, the Champions of Change Invitational. Porter finished the year with another four top-15 finishes and has already had two top-10s on the 2024 WPGA Tour of Australasia.
After being named the Most Outstanding Player of the Year in 2014 by the Jack Newton Junior Golf Foundation, Amy Chu's career has gone from strength to strength. Chu captained the Golf NSW team to victory in the 2018 Women's Interstate Matches, won the 2020 Juli Inkster Meadow Club Collegiate, and spent four years in Washington State University's golf program.
Young guns Claire Shin and Caitlin Peirce will also be joining the field. Shin, who turned professional in late 2023, aged just 18, earned just under $28,000 for her T14 finish at the ISPS HANDA Australian Open at The Australian Golf Club while Peirce won the amateur medal, placing T7 alongside fellow Australian and Athena alumni Grace Kim. Peirce also recently represented Australia at the Women’s Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship.
Perth product Jess Whitting will join the field after recently producing the shot of her career at Webex Players Series Murray River. Lining up on the par-three third at Cobram Barooga, Whitting made a hole-in-one, winning a BMW i4 eDrive 35 valued at $94,088.
The champion at the 2023 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Championship, Skye Lampton from Darwin Golf Club, will be the first Indigenous woman to take part in the event.
No strangers to the professional circuits, Rhianna Lewis (Qld), Sarah Yamaki Branch (Qld) Elmay Viking (Cook Islands), Steph Bunque (Vic), and Dannie Vasquez (NSW) will also be joining the field, showcasing their golf skills and off-course personalities.
WPGA Tour of Australasia CEO Karen Lunn said The Athena field showcased the strength of Australian golfers and our future role models.
“Australia is known for producing some of the world's best golfers with Minjee Lee, Hannah Green, and now Grace Kim currently setting a high standard on the international stage,” she said.
“Back home, we are nurturing the next generation of talent who will at some point be joining our international stars on the world's major tours, and the Athena provides them with a unique experience competing in an event where every shot they play will be played under high-pressure conditions and broadcast live on TV.
“There is no doubt we have some fantastic talent coming through. This year's Athena field will showcase 12 of our country’s best young players providing a backdrop for their athleticism and personalities to shine and for us to tell their stories.
"The format of The Athena provides a unique opportunity to showcase the skill and talent of the young players who are role models for golf's future stars."
Across the two days of The Athena, from February 24 to 25, spectators will be admitted FREE.
The Athena will be broadcast LIVE on Fox Sports and Kayo.