The mixed-gender Australian Open will have a reduced women’s field and revert to a single-cut format on its return to Sydney this year after the previous event in Melbourne in December drew criticism over its convoluted structure.
The inaugural dual-gender tournament had an unusual second cut after 54 holes, leaving the top 30 players from each of the men’s and women’s fields to compete for separate trophies in the final round at Victoria Golf Club.
This year’s event at The Australian and The Lakes golf clubs from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3 will see the women’s field trimmed to 84 players with the men’s unchanged at 156, organisers said on Wednesday.
The men’s field will be cut to 60 plus ties after 36 holes, with the women’s cut to a pro-rata 32 plus ties. The 54-hole second cut has been scrapped.
Organisers said the changes had been decided after a review of last year’s tournaments in Melbourne and following consultation with both the men’s and women’s tour bodies and playing groups.
The head of the local women’s golf tour said the reduced women’s field would ensure a “high-quality competition” that reflected the importance of the national championship and guaranteed players maximum world ranking points.
“The size of the women’s Open field will be reassessed year by year,” WPGA Tour of Australasia Chief Executive Officer Karen Lunn said.
“Our aim is to grow the depth in the women’s game.”
Prize-money will remain equal across the men’s and women’s tournaments, which will be played over four days at The Australian Golf Club and co-hosted by The Lakes during the first two days.
The men’s event will be co-sanctioned by Europe’s DP World Tour.
Poland’s Adrian Meronk claimed the men’s title last year, while South African Ashleigh Buhai won the women’s event.
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