• Lydia Ko Heading to Melbourne
Lydia Ko returns to Melbourne in February.

Record-breaking 16 year-old and World Number 4 Lydia Ko will play in Melbourne at the ISPS HANDA Women’s Australian Open from 13-16 February at Victoria Golf Club as tickets go on sale today.

The young New Zealander turned professional in October after a stunning amateur career including back-to-back wins at the CN Canadian Women’s Open on the LPGA Tour.

Ko finished third at the ISPS HANDA Women’s Australian Open in February and, in her first full year on the LPGA Tour in 2014, said she was looking forward to returning to Melbourne to compete for the US$1.2 million purse.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in Australia during my amateur career and the ISPS HANDA Women’s Australian Open always brings back great memories for me,” said Ko who was the tournament’s leading amateur for the last three years.

Ko joins Australia’s World Number 8 Karrie Webb and World Number 14 and defending champion Korean Jiyai Shin in the field.

“I have played well on Melbourne’s sandbelt courses in the past and I’m looking to start the year on a positive note at Victoria Golf Club,” Ko added.

Victorian Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Louise Asher said Ko was an exciting addition to the championship field which will be the second event of the year on the LPGA Tour.

“Lydia has had a tremendous year and it’s hard to believe she’s still only 16. We’re looking forward to welcoming her back to Melbourne among a field of the world’s best players who will walk the fairways at Victoria Golf Club,”

Golf Australia CEO Stephen Pitt said Ko had taken the golf world by storm.

“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,” Pitt said.

“Next February’s championship is shaping up superbly. In addition to commitments from Lydia, Karrie and Jiyai, we expect to have more of the world’s top ten players to announce in the near future. It will be a fantastic week of golf on Melbourne’s sandbelt,” Pitt added.

The championship is sanctioned by the LPGA Tour, the Ladies European Tour and the ALPG Tour.

ABC TV will broadcast comprehensive national coverage of the championship across all four days while millions will see the action overseas via the LPGA Tour’s global television platform.

Tickets are now on sale at Ticketek at www.ticketek.com or by calling 132 849.

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