Australian Breanna Elliott will play in Portland.
A cast of eight Australians are looking to break a Portland hoodoo this week at the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola in Oregon.
The event has a history of champions who were or went on to be World Number 1 players including Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa but no Australian player has lifted the trophy on the West Coast.
Julia Boland, Frances Bondad, Breanna Elliott, Katherine Hull-Kirk, Sarah Kemp, Sarah-Jane Smith, Lindsey Wright and Karrie Webb will try and break that hoodoo.
Japan's Mika Miyazato hopes to deliver a successful title defence after capturing her first LPGA victory at the event last year.
The tournament returns to Columbia Edgewater Country Club, which hosted the event as recently as five years ago, will feature a 144-player field, vying for a US$195,000 first-place check.
Miyazato became the sixth Rolex First-Time winner at last year’s event with an impressive wire-to-wire victory over Inbee Park and Brittany Lincicome.
She will face the challenge of defending her title at the revamped event which returns to a beloved venue and moves to a four-day layout. While the 23-year-old only boasts two top-finishes so far this season including a third place finish at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, she is hopeful for a successful title defense for her second-career victory.
The exhaustion of a grueling stretch of tournaments that included the Ricoh Women’s British Open, Solheim Cup, and CN Canadian Women’s Open hit Rolex Rankings No. 2 Stacy Lewis head-on during last week’s event in Canada.
The physical and mental demands of the tournaments forced the former University of Arkansas Razorback to withdraw after the exhaustion became so excruciating; it left her forgetting the simplest mundane tasks on the golf course.
“Yeah, it's everything from the British until Solheim Cup, hit me last week,” said Lewis. “I was tired, but I didn't expect to feel the way I did on the golf course. I was out there, I overshot and I completely forgot what shot I was hitting, how far I was, that's not like me at all.”
Last week marked the first-time in Lewis’ four-years on the LPGA Tour that she has pulled out of an event. The decision wasn’t an easy one for the eight-time LPGA Tour winner who received encouragement to get some much needed rest from those closest to her, including caddie Travis Wilson.
“I had never (withdrawn) I think it's just my personality,” said Lewis. “It was physically hard for me to, I was nervous calling the official telling them I had to pull out. I called four or five people that were closest to me and they gave me good advice. I asked them what I should do. They all said the same thing. My caddy was the one that truthfully kind of pushed me to do it because he saw the way I was on the golf course.”
After spending a few days in Canada where she visited the spa and went on a hiking excursion, Lewis is vying for her third LPGA Tour victory this year at the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola. Current Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park withdrew from the event on Tuesday after experiencing flu-like symptoms which has left Lewis eyeing the coveted number one spot in the rankings.