Major champs lock in Aussie dates

Henderson v Creamer
Brooke Henderson and Paula Creamer are always crowd pleasers.

Crowd favourite Brooke Henderson has confirmed she’ll return to Australia – and she’s on a mission.

The Canadian, currently No.9 in the world, has aspirations of returning to the top five in 2019 – and starts at the ISPS Handa Vic Open and ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open in the next fortnight are the foundation stones of her plans.

Henderson, renowned for her smile and crowd interaction as much as her long and powerful swing, will make her fourth consecutive trip Down Under for the national championship, but will play at 13th Beach Golf Links in the Victorian tournament for the first time.

“I love going to Australia … it is nice and warm and so beautiful, so we always look forward to it every year,” the 21-year-old said.

“It will be really nice to have another tournament before the Australian Open to prepare for that.

“I am looking forward to the Vic Open for the first time and hopefully I can get a good finish there and have some extra confidence going into (the Australian Open) and the rest of the 2019 season.

“The big one for me last year was getting my world ranking back into the top 10 and this year if I could be creeping a bit closer to the top five, I would be really happy with that.”

The 2016 Women’s PGA Championship winner has dazzled Adelaide fans for three years and rattled home for a share of ninth at The Grange, this year’s host club, when most recently there in 2016.

And in another coup for both tournaments, American superstar girl Paula Creamer will also play in both Barwon Heads and Adelaide.

Creamer, 32, was most recently in Australia in 2014 when third at the Australian Open behind Karrie Webb.

She has been a staple on the American Solheim Cup team since 2005 and her crowning moment to date has been the 2010 US Women’s Open triumph at famous Oakmont, near Pittsburgh.

Golf Australia operations boss Simon Brookhouse said both women packed games that would thrill galleries.

“We’re excited to have them both back in Australia, especially for two weeks,” Brookhouse said.

“They’re tremendous ambassadors for women’s sport and always give their best as athletes and entertainers – they will be great for our crowds in Barwon Heads and Adelaide.”

The ISPS Handa Vic Open will be played next week from 7-10 February at 13th Beach Golf Club. It features concurrent men’s and women’s tournaments for equal prizemoney and for the first time will be jointly sanctioned by the LPGA Tour and ALPG, alongside the European Tour and PGA Tour of Australasia.

The ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open returns to The Grange Golf Club in Adelaide the following week, from 14-17 February.

Check www.vicopengolf.com and www.golf.org.au/womensausopen for details of both tournaments.