• Aussies on Tour: Rudgeley ready to make her name

West Australian Kirsten Rudgeley hopes to put the pain of a number of near misses to good use this year when she begins her 2024 Ladies European Tour campaign at the Magical Kenya Ladies Open.

A current member of the Golf Australia Rookie Squad, Rudgeley and Kiwi Momoka Kobori are the lone Australasians in action for the LET’s opening event of the season, a season in which sees the return of two co-sanctioned events in Australia (Women’s NSW Open and Australian Women’s Classic).

Rudgeley finished 30th on the moneylist in her rookie season in 2023 but let slip a golden opportunity to log a maiden win in the final event of the season.

Although that missed chance still smarts, the 22-year-old knows it is all part of the process of becoming accustomed to life on tour.

“It’s not great when you miss opportunities like that, but it’s a learning experience,” Rudgeley told the GolfWA website.

“My coach, Craig Bishop, told me to just go out on my first year and take it all in, and I feel like that’s what I did.

“That was good advice, because it’s hard being a rookie, especially all the travel.”

Although reluctant to set specific goals preferring to focus on each week as it comes, Rudgeley does believe that should she be in position to win again, she can finish the job.

“Can I win this year? I hope so,” said Rudgeley, whose amateur wins include the Scottish Women’s Open Championship and the English Women’s Amateur Championship.

“I’ve put myself in the position a couple of times and haven’t quite made it over the line.

“I’m happy with where my game is and my schedule for the year ahead, so if I’m in that position again I’ll be ready for it.”

As Rudgeley chases a first professional win, Rhein Gibson returns to Colombia this week to defend his Astara Golf Championship title.

It sparked the start of a stretch that looked to have the New South Welshman headed back to the PGA TOUR but he had just one top-10 in his last 17 events to finish 40th on the moneylist.

On the PGA TOUR this week, Min Woo Lee and New Zealand’s Ryan Fox make their debuts at the WM Phoenix Open in Scottsdale while David Micheluzzi and Harrison Endycott will be out to build on their top-20 finishes of a week ago at the DP World Tour’s Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.

Cameron Smith and the Ripper GC boys back up this week too, in action at Liv Golf Las Vegas at Las Vegas Country Club.

Photo: Tristan Jones/LET

Round 1 tee times AEDT

WM Phoenix Open
TPC Scottsdale (Stadium Cse), Scottsdale, Arizona
1:42am*           Aaron Baddeley, Eric Cole, Joseph Bramlett
6:22am*           Keith Mitchell, Ben Martin, Min Woo Lee
6:44am            Justin Thomas, Adam Scott, Cameron Young
7:39am            Mark Hubbard, Robby Shelton, Ryan Fox (NZ)

Prize money: $US8,800,000
Defending champion: Scottie Scheffler
Past Aussie winners: Bruce Crampton (1973), Aaron Baddeley (2007)
TV times: Live 2am-12pm Friday, Saturday; Live 5am-10am Sunday, Monday on Fox Sports 503 and Kayo.

DP World Tour
Commercial Bank Qatar Masters
Doha GC, Doha, Qatar
2:15pm            Jaco Prinsloo, Kristian Krogh Johannessen, Sam Jones (NZ)
2:15pm*          Marcus Helligkilde, Harrison Endycott, Marcus Kinhult
2:25pm*          David Micheluzzi, Ashun Wu, Manuel Elvira
7pm*               Jens Dantorp, Alvaro Quiros, Jason Scrivener
8:10pm            Daniel Brown, Haotong Li, Daniel Hillier (NZ)
8:30pm*          Haydn Barron, Jacques Kruyswijk, Jonas Blixt

Prize money: $US2,500,000
Defending champion: Sami Valimaki
Past Aussie winners: Adam Scott (2002, 2008)
TV times: Live 8pm-1am Thursday, Friday; Live 8:30pm-1am Saturday; Live 7:30pm-12:30am Sunday on Fox Sports 503 and Kayo.

Ladies European Tour
Magical Kenya Ladies Open
Vipingo Ridge, Kenya
4:40pm*          Kirsten Rudgeley, Madelene Stavnar, Naomi Wafula (a)
9:27pm*          Lauren Walsh, Hayley Davis, Momoka Kobori (NZ)

Prize money: €300,000
Defending champion: Aditi Ashok
Past Aussie winners: Nil
TV times: Live 11pm-2am Thursday on Fox Sports 507 and Kayo.

LIV Golf
LIV Golf Las Vegas
Las Vegas Country Club, Las Vegas, Nevada
Australasians in the field: Cameron Smith, Lucas Herbert, Marc Leishman, Matt Jones, Danny Lee (NZ)

Prize money: $US25,000,000
Defending champion: Inaugural event
Past Aussie winners: Nil
TV times: Live from 4:15am Saturday, Sunday, Monday on 7 Plus.

Korn Ferry Tour
Astara Golf Championship
Country Club de Bogota (Lagos Cse), Bogota, Colombia
11:45pm*         Brett Drewitt, Richy Werenski, Wil Bateman
11:55pm*         Jorge Fernández Valdés, Curtis Luck, Jackson Suber
12:35am*         Dawson Armstrong, Bryson Nimmer, Charlie Hillier (NZ)
12:55am          Rhein Gibson, Roberto Díaz, Thomas Rosenmueller
1:05am*           Dimi Papadatos, Van Holmgren, Alistair Docherty

Prize money: $US1,000,000
Defending champion: Rhein Gibson
Past Aussie winners: Rhein Gibson (2023)

Challenge Tour
Bain’s Whisky Cape Town Open
Royal Cape Golf Club, Cape Town, South Africa
Aussies in the field: Hayden Hopewell

Prize money: $US350,000
Defending champion: Ben Follett-Smith
Past Aussie winners: Nil

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