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Preview: ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open

Preview — LPGA Tour — ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open — Victoria Golf Club — Victoria, Australia —

The LPGA Tour returns to action this week Down Under at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.

Jessica Korda and Jiyai Shin are past champions at this tournament . Shin (18-under) outlasted Yani Tseng and Lydia Ko last year to claim the crown and his 11th career LPGA Tour title. This week’s tournament is expected to be just as dramatic with the Rolex Ranking World No. 1 is up for grabs this week.

With top-ranked player Inbee Park skipping the event, there is an opportunity for Suzann Pettersen to take the top spot with a victory or perhaps a runner-up demanding on how the field falls.

Victoria Golf Club (par 72) hosts the tournament. Playing just under 6,500 yards, low scores are expected with perhaps 20-under winning the title if the winds lay down. Korda, who won the 2014 LPGA Tour opener in the Bahamas two weeks ago, won the championship at just 3-under in 2012.

American Stacy Lewis is the betting favorite at Ladbrokes.com at 6-to-1 odds followed by Pettersen (7-1). Ko is 10-1 with Lexi Thompson at 16-1.

Other Golf News:

  • U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson selected World Golf Hall of Fame member Raymond Floyd to be an assistant captain. Floyd joins Andy North. The competition is in Scotland this September.
  • Justin Rose, No. 5 in the Official World Golf Rankings, makes his 2014 debut this week at the PGA Tour’s Northern Trust Open. The U.S. Open champion expects a big 2014 on both the PGA Tour and European Tour.
  • Steve Stricker may join Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Adam Scott in not playing the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championships next week in Arizona. Stricker’s brother is ill and he is reportedly considering a withdraw from the event which invites the Top 64 players in the world. Stricker, who hasn’t playing since December, is No. 12 in the rankings.
  • Dustin Johnson is the top pick at Ladbrokes.com to win the Northern Trust Open at 12-1 odds following by Webb Simpson (16-1) and Jimmy Walker, Hunter Mahan and Matt Kuchar — all three are listed at 20-1.