New Zealand’s Newest Major Champion Returns Home
PRESS RELEASE – 15 December 2015
World Number One Lydia Ko will defend her ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open Championship at the Clearwater Golf Club, Christchurch. The Ladies European Tour (LET) and Australian Ladies Professional Golf (ALPG) co-sanctioned event will be played as a 54 hole Championship with Pro-Am Tournament scheduled for Thursday 11 February.
It has been another year of success for golf’s golden girl with Ko winning five times on the LPGA Tour, becoming the youngest to reach 10 wins, rising to number one in the world and becoming the youngest ever to win a Major Championship. To finish the year in style, Ko was recently crowned the LPGA 2015 Player of the Year and the Race to the CME Globe Champion, both for the second year running.
Dean Murphy, CEO New Zealand Golf said he is delighted Lydia will return home to New Zealand to defend her title.
“Lydia continues to be a great ambassador for the game of golf and we are so pleased she will return home to New Zealand in the New Year.
“The reality is, this is a very difficult tournament for Lydia to fit into her schedule and the fact she will compete is a measure of how much she values playing at home.
“Lydia continues to keep a very close relationship with New Zealand Golf and I’m sure the golfing fans of New Zealand will look forward to seeing her play as World Number 1 in our own backyard,” said Murphy.
Ko is very much looking forward to getting home to New Zealand.
"I'm excited to go back to Clearwater where I have made so many great memories. The New Zealand golfing public have always been such great supporters of me and it will be exciting to play in front of my home fans.
“I'm also really looking forward to seeing my family and friends back home," commented Ko.
Midori Miyazaki of returning title sponsor ISPS Handa is pleased to have Ko confirmed to defend her title.
“'ISPS Handa is looking forward to another year of partnership with the New Zealand Golf, ALPG Tour and the Ladies European Tour. My Chairman, Dr Handa, is delighted that Lydia is playing in this tournament, which promises to bring real excitement to this year's event and to reach out to many who will see the "power of sport" at its best through Lydia,” said Miyazaki.
Christchurch City Mayor Lianne Dalziel says she's delighted that the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women's Open Championship is returning to Christchurch and she knows residents and visitors to the city will get along to support this golfing event.
"We’re a city that loves sport and to have a drawcard of the calibre of Lydia Ko playing in the championship is an added bonus," she says.
"Christchurch is well-known as a great host city and I'm sure people will get along to Clearwater to see a world class field of international female golfers in action."
Karen Lunn (CEO) for the ALPG said on behalf of the co-sanctioned partners both the ALPG and the LET are excited Lydia Ko will defend her title and welcomes the minimum €200,000 prize money purse.
A full field of 144 players will compete at Clearwater Golf Club which every year presents a world class challenge for the players from around the world alongside the warm hospitality the member and the city of Christchurch provide for our players, officials and valued sponsors.
Bob Tuohy, Tournament Director said the 8th edition of the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open will no doubt attract a world class field of international players and with Lydia Ko defending, large galleries are expected to attend the Clearwater Golf Club.
Mr Tuohy paid tribute to the City of Christchurch who have remained in support of the New Zealand Women’s Open since inception in 2009.
“The support of title sponsor ISPS Handa has also been fundamental to the on-going success and stature of the championship and we are fortunate that the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open has again been included in the ISPS global portfolio of events,” said Tuohy.
For further information contact:
Dean Murphy Karen Lunn Bob Tuohy
CEO, NZ Golf Executive Director, ALPG Tournament Director, TA Golf
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M: 021 222 8951 M: +61 477 021 091 M: +61 411 131 627