New Zealand sensation Lydia Ko has been unveiled as a drawcard for the 2014 women's Australian Open to be held at the Victoria Golf Club on Melbourne's famed sand belt in February.
The record-breaking world No 4, who turned professional in October, will be a focal point at the tournament, Golf Australia announced today.
"It's been thrilling to witness Lydia's rise from the early stages of her amateur career through to her position now as one of the top players in women's professional golf. It has been astonishing journey," chief executive Stephen Pitt said.
"Next February's championship is shaping up superbly. In addition to commitments from Lydia, (Australian) Karrie (Webb) and Jiyai (Shin), we expect to have more of the world's top ten players to announce in the near future."
Ko, who stunned the golfing world during a stellar amateur career, was third at this year's Open at Royal Canberra, where she finished four strokes behind South Korea's Shin and two adrift of Taiwan's former world No 1 Yani Tseng.
The 16-year-old said she was looking forward to competing at the $US1.2 million tournament.
"I've spent a lot of time in Australia during my amateur career and the Open always brings back great memories for me," said Ko, the tournament's leading amateur for the last three years.
The Open, which runs between February 13-16, is sanctioned by the LPGA Tour, the Ladies European Tour and the ALPG Tour guaranteeing Ko even greater exposure as her professional career gather momentum.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Should the NZ taxpayer financially assist pro golfer Lydia Ko?Related story: (See story)