NZ Women’s Open players sample sights

Lydia Ko preparing for the McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open. Photo supplied.

Players have begun to arrive en masse from around the world for the McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open in Auckland this week.

The event, which boasts a prize purse of NZ$1.85 million, will be staged at the new Windross Farm golf course on Alfriston-Ardmore Rd, the first time the LPGA has ventured to New Zealand.

Some players competed in the annual Anita Boon Pro-Am on Thursday and Friday, won by Australian professional Sarah Kemp, an LPGA player who said that her first round 63 has given her plenty of confidence for the New Zealand Open.

Others headed to Ardmore, for their first look at the Windross Farm course, including the current US Open Champion, Danielle Kim. The American, who flew in early Sunday, was out on the course the same day with New Zealand’s Steve Williams, one of the most successful caddies in professional golf, who is on her bag this week.

Also on the course was tournament host and former world number one, Kiwi Lydia Ko, enjoying a practice round on her own.

Some players took in the sights of Auckland with Spanish star Belen Mozo following her jump off the Sky Tower with a more leisurely tour of the Auckland Harbour on a former America’s Cup yacht.

Spain’s Belen Mozo prepares to jump off the Sky Tour. Photo: Photosport.

Others like Italian Giulia Molinaro took in the sights of the city, including a chance meeting with Prime Minister, Bill English.

Today the players will practice, while there are 57 players, both amateur and professional, will chase four spots in the final qualifying at Royal Auckland Golf Club.

There is further practice tomorrow, the Pro-Am presented by RSM on Wednesday with the tournament proper from Thursday until Sunday.