New Zealand

Top Aussie duo miss LPGA Champions opener

The LPGA’s season-opening Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions in Florida will be played without the top three players in the world as well as the crack Australian duo of Minjee Lee and Hannah Green.

South Koreans Jin Young Ko, Sei Young Kim and Inbee Park, currently the three highest-ranked players, have all have bowed out of the tournament, set for January 21-24 at the Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club Orlando.

Park said in December at the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Florida, that she was taking a break — one that could be lengthened given COVID-19 quarantine requirements.

“I don’t think I’m going to make it back in time after I do a couple of weeks in quarantine,” Park said at the CME, which ended on December 20. “It’s just not going to be, I think, long enough for me.”

The prestigious Tournament of Champions typically invites tour winners from the previous two seasons but, because of the scant number of events in 2020 due to the pandemic, winners from 2018 have also been included in this year’s event.

Yet other players skipping the event include Lee, the current world No.8, and Green, who’s ranked 18.

New Zealand’s Lydia Ko, Nasa Hataoka, of Japan, sisters Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand, South Korean So Yeon Ryu and Michelle Wie West have also given the event a miss.

Gaby Lopez, the defending champion from Mexico, is, however, scheduled to compete in the event.

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