New Zealand Women's Golf Open set for switch to Auckland

New Zealand's Lydia Ko. Photo / www.photosport.co.nz
New Zealand's Lydia Ko. Photo / www.photosport.co.nz

New Zealand Golf is expected to announce today the Women's Golf Open is moving from Christchurch to Auckland next year.

A revamped tournament, part of the LPGA's Tour calendar, will move from Clearwater in Christchurch to the Windross Farm Golf Club in Ardmore, south of Auckland.

The Herald understands New Zealand Golf and officials have received government funding for the event, which, among other things, will give it a much-needed prize purse boost.

That, along with it being added to the main Tour, is likely to attract some of the biggest names in women's golf, as well as securing world No1 and crowd puller Lydia Ko's attendance for the foreseeable future.

Along with Ko, they are hopeful of hosting the likes of major winners Inbee Park, Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson. The first edition of the event is expected to be held in October or November next year.

Windross Farm has undergone a revamp and is now a top-level championship course. In 2012, 84 per cent of Manukau Golf Club members voted for the club to move from its original Takinini site, seven minutes down the road to its new 60 ha location at Windross Farm, owned by Graham Windross. Along with the design expertise from the likes of former New Zealand pro Phil Tataurangi, the new course came to fruition.

The women's national Open has long superceded its men's equivalent, largely due to Ko's attendance. For the past four years it has been at Clearwater in Christchurch in front of impressive crowds, with Ko dominating for three victories.

Today's announcement is sure to firm it even further as the country's leading golf event.
New Zealand Golf CEO Dean Murphy will front the media conference, with Ko to be present via a video link from the United States where she tees off in the LPGA's Tour Championship tomorrow morning (New Zealand time).

She has enjoyed five wins this year, but has struggled by her lofty standards in recent times, with her last top 10 finish coming in September.

- NZ Herald

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