Australian teenager Su-Hyun Oh will defend the RACV Ladies Masters from Thursday at Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast in Queensland.
The 19-year-old from Victoria, who is ranked equal sixth on the LET Order of Merit after finishing 14th in the ISPS HANDA Australian Women’s Open, will tee up alongside world number 11 Brooke Henderson from Canada and local favourite Rebecca Artis at 7:15 in the first round.
Oh’s breakthrough win at the RACV Ladies’ Masters in 2015 came in her only her second start as a professional. She carded rounds of 69, 75, 72 and 69 at Royal Pines, but since then the back nine holes have been redeveloped completing the new 18-hole layout.
The young Australian had her first look at the re-designed course during Wednesday’s Pro-Am and is ready for the challenge.
“I just finished playing the golf course and the back nine is very different but I think it added a lot more character to the golf course. It looks like it’s going to be tricky, especially if the winds are like this,” said Oh.
“I feel like the back nine’s tougher. I’m not sure if it’s because I saw it for the first time. I actually walked it yesterday and I thought it was a lot tougher but when I played it today the greens were holding a lot better than I thought. Just downwind it’s really difficult. Obviously if you land it too short, because the greens raised, it’s hard, it’s not going to get up and if you get it on the green, it’s going to go off the back. Just find a good place to miss. I’ve written in my yardage book, ‘Miss: okay here, bad there.’ So, just trying to miss on the right places.
“I have to get used to it because I haven’t been around that many golf courses with a lot of run offs along sides but it should be a good challenge.”
The second stage of the total redevelopment of the tournament layout was completed in time for the Australian PGA Championship in December and while many of those in this week’s field will have played the initial nine holes in last year’s staging of the RACV Ladies Masters the recently completed nine adds another dimension.
The new greens have had nearly three months of additional time to bed in following the PGA Championship in December, but RACV Royal Pines is still expected to provide a demanding examination for those involved.
Henderson will be playing in the event for the first time and agreed that positioning the ball around the greens will be important. “Overall, I think it will be a great test for the players here. As long as you play smart and put it in the right places you will make it okay.”
Henderson comes into the event in fine form after a final round 67 saw her finish in a tie for ninth place in the ISPS HANDA Australian Women’s Open in Adelaide, on the back of two top 10 finishes in the Bahamas and Florida.
Other players expected to challenge this week are former world number one Jiyai Shin from South Korea and home hopes Sarah Kemp, Sarah Jane Smith, Stacey Keating and Artis, who claimed her second Ladies European Tour victory in the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open in Ayrshire last year. They are joined by the 2014 Champion Cheyenne Woods, Englishwoman Melissa Reid, and the talented Danish trio of Nicole Broch Larsen, Emily Kristine Pedersen and Nanna Koerstz Madsen.