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Back in 2011, the tournament was in danger of going extinct, with sagging interest and a bare-boned purse of 100,000 AUD.

“The men’s event wasn’t really viable anymore, and we knew something had to change,” said David Greenhill, who was running the tournament for Golf Victoria at the time.

“But I got a phone call from Tony Charlton that first year, applauding the idea and thanking me for crediting him as the inspiration for it.

After getting the phone call, and then seeing two gals and two guys go out for a practice round together at the start of the week, that gave me total confidence this was going to work.” At first, there were skeptics among the male pros.

It was won last year by In-Kyung Kim by 2 strokes over two-time defending champion Anna Nordqvist.

In-Kyung Kim will try to defend the Shop Rite LPGA Classic title she won in 2017.

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“There’s no doubt it works in tennis, with the majors.“It has to be one of the fastest growing tournaments in the world,” Lunn said. Geoff Ogilvy, Andrew “Beef” Johnston and Ryo Ishikawa are the headliners among the men.Just four of the top 50 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings are playing this week, with No. “It was a pretty last-minute addition to the LPGA schedule late last year,” Lunn said.We’ve got enough stars on the women’s side creating interest.” The mixed nature of the competition brought out fans curious to see how it would work that first year.Golf Australia enhanced the experience by limiting ropes and allowing spectators to walk in the fairways behind the players. Golf Australia CEO Stephen Pitt believes the game needs more ideas like the Vic Open.

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