World No.4 Lydia Ko at Clearwater Golf Club where she will defend the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open hosted by Christchurch beginning on Friday

The 2014 Ladies European Tour season tees off in New Zealand on Friday, where World No.4 Lydia Ko will begin her title defence of the ISPS Handa NZ Women’s Open hosted by Christchurch alongside two of her leading challengers for the title.

The 16-year-old, who won the NZ Open last year to become the youngest winner in LET history aged only 15, will play the first two rounds with English sensation Charley Hull and Australian professional Stacey Keating at 8:05am from the 10th tee in round one. 

Hull, who finished runner-up in her opening five starts on the LET in 2013 on her way to claiming the Rookie of the Year honours, is excited to make her first appearance in NZ.

Keating, a two-time winner on the Ladies European Tour, is looking to get into contention again after finishing in third place, and second professional, in 2013.

Meanwhile there are other feature groups all over the course.

Ahead of the Ko group is the 2012 Champion Lindsey Wright (AUS) playing with Frenchwoman Valentine Derrey and Cheyenne Woods (USA) who is the niece of World No.1 Tiger Woods.

Following Ko’s group is two former champions Laura Davies (ENG) and Gwladys Nocera (FRA) alongside Australian professional Sarah-Jane Smith at 8:15am off the 10th tee.

American Amelia Lewis, who finished runner-up by a shot in 2013, will begin her 2014 tournament alongside Australian Nikki Garrett and England’s Liz Young.

In the afternoon field the feature groups are on course from 12:20pm.

England’s Trish Johnson, a 21-time winner on the LET, will tee off with highly-rated Aussie Rebecca Artis and Frenchwoman Joanna Klatten, who shot a course record last week at Oatlands to win the Bing Lee NSW Open.

Following that group are England’s Melissa Reid, one of the name players from the LET, Australian Sarah Kemp, who has finished runner-up twice at the event and compatriot Bree Arthur.

The stage is set for the opening two rounds of the ISPS Handa NZ Women’s Open hosted by Christchurch with a big gallery expected to follow the tournament favourite early on Friday morning.

ISPS Handa NZ Women’s Open hosted by Christchurch Fact File:

When:  Friday January 31 – Sunday February 2

Where:  Clearwater Golf Club, Christchurch

Tours: Ladies European Tour (LET) and ALPG

Purse: €200,000 or NZ$334,000

Players: 133

For the Round 1 and 2 draw visit: and click on ‘Tee Times’.