By Australian Golf Media
Major championship winner Jiyai Shin is the latest player to commit to the Vic Open at 13th Beach Golf Links on the Bellarine Peninsula next month.
As the field for the groundbreaking mixed-gender tournament in the seaside village of Barwon Heads nears completion, the appearance of the South Korean superstar and former world No. 1 Shin adds genuine weight to the women’s tournament.
The 34-year-old Shin won the AIG Women’s Open (British Open) in 2008 and 2012 and was the No. 1 player in the world before returning from America to her home country several years ago to focus on the Japanese Tour. She remains a world class player, runner-up in the recent ISPS HANDA Australian Open in Melbourne, and ranked No. 68 in the world.
Shin won the 2013 Women’s Australian Open at Royal Canberra (one of more than 25 worldwide tournament wins) and in 2008 was beaten in a playoff by Karrie Webb at Kingston Heath.
She will complement a women’s field that includes the legendary Webb, seven-time major championship winner and World Golf Hall of Famer, and world class performers including Sarah Jane Smith, Karis Davidson, Sarah Kemp, the American Emma Talley and Thailand’s Pavarisa Yoktuan.
Last week’s stunning winner of the TPS Victoria event at Rosebud, South Korea’s Min A Yoon, also will be playing at 13th Beach next week. Yoon became the second woman to win a mixed gender tournament on the Australian Tours, following Hannah Green’s win at TPS Cobram lats year.
Yoon, 20, a WPGA member, shot a remarkable closing 63 to win the $250,000 event that is part of the WPGA Tour Australasia and the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia.
The men’s field also includes some great talent, with Order Of Merit winners Jake McLeod and Matthew Griffin joining 15 tournament winners from the last two years, including Victoria’s David Micheluzzi, who is currently sitting at No. 2 on the Order of Merit for 2022-23.
With the top three players on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit at season’s end earning DP World Tour playing rights for 2023-24, recent winners such as Micheluzzi (WA PGA), Geelong-raised Deyen Lawson (WA Open), Andrew Martin (Victorian PGA) and Tom Power Horan (Gippsland Super 6) have a lot to play for at 13th Beach.
Another big addition to the field is the No. 1 player on the world rankings for Golfers with Disability and 2022 Australian All Abilities Championship winner Kipp Popert, who tees it up amongst the able-bodied players at Barwon Heads having recently competed in the Australian Amateur championship in Sydney.
This year’s Vic Open also features the Victorian Inclusive and the Australian Wheelchair Championships on the Creek Course at 13th Beach on the Saturday and Sunday of tournament week.
Therese Magdulski, Golf Australia’s General Manager of Events and Operations, said the field would be strong.
“Jiyai Shin is not only a superstar of the sport but a delightful person who warms to the crowds,” said Magdulski. “We’re rapt to see her coming back to Australia where she’s performed so well being an Australian Open winner and twice runner-up.”
The Vic Open is to be played at 13th Beach from 9-12 February and is sanctioned by the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia and WPGA Tour Australasia. Each field will play for a $420,000 prize purse.
This will be the 10th playing of the tournament at 13th Beach since it was moved to the Bellarine Peninsula in 2013.
The Vic Open is proudly supported by the Victorian Government.