Played alongside the men’s PGA Championship, the field was originally set at 24 with a first prize matching that of the 120 men’s event of $180,000. Since the start of the week however, Sarah Kemp has been forced out following a COVID close contact and Steph Kyriacou similarly ruled out after testing positive for the virus.

There remains 18 professionals and four amateurs contesting the spoils over a guaranteed four rounds and pay cheque in Brisbane, where a shortened version of the same layout hosting the men welcomes some of our brightest prospects.

DEFENDING CHAMPION: Inaugural event.

COURSE: Celebrating its centenary last year, Royal Queensland Golf Club welcomes the first ever WPGA Championship field this week at its redesigned course that opened for play in 2007.

RIGHT: Su Oh is firmly in the favourite position for the maiden WPGA Championship. PHOTO: PGA Tour of Australasia.

Originally designed by Carnegie Clark, it was Golf Australia magazine Architecture Editor Mike Clayton who led the revamp of the layout that now possess a links-like feel despite not qualifying as a links.

Wide off the tee and placing a premium on second shot play and the short game, the women will play the event to a par of 72 and at a reduced distance to the men’s total yardage of more than 6,500 metres.

Bunkering provides significant scoring protection for the Eagle Farm course, while playing from the grainy green surrounds and putting on the actual surfaces will prove a learning curve for the non-Queenslanders in the field.

PRIZEMONEY: $300,000

PLAYERS TO WATCH: With Kyriacou and Kemp out of the event as two of the early favourites based on their 2021 form, the attention significantly swings to Victorian LPGA player Su Oh.

The 25-year-old played solidly in 2021 without managing to break through for a first win on the world’s biggest stage for women’s golf.

Oh is close with course designer Clayton and will have taken plenty out of her practice around alongside him as he caddied for young tyro Elvis Smylie. Having spent time with the group and Oh on the practice fairway, her game looks to be in good shape ahead of the week where she will now face two less of her fellow LPGA Tour cohort.

Royal Queensland looking a treat ahead of the inaugural battle for the Karrie Webb Cup. PHOTO: PGA Tour of Australasia.

It seems every time Grace Kim tees it up she is considered a player to watch, and based of her last start and with the COVID withdrawals that is even more the case this week.

Kim was the low woman at the Sandbelt Invitational where the new pro was exemplary over the four days managing her game on extremely difficult courses, and is now firmly in a position to win the Karrie Webb Cup.

Kim is one of the straightest drivers in golf, and if she has learnt the right spots to aim to off the tee at RQ she will set herself up for plenty of scoring chances.

There are plenty of others here this week that will fancy their chances, and some of the younger players who are worth watching with an eye to the future. Of the experienced brigade, Sarah Jane Smith is fresh of earning her LPGA Tour status back over eight gruelling rounds at Tour school, while Queensland’s Karis Davidson achieved the same feat after learning her craft in Japan over the last few years.

For an outside chance, keep an eye on Steph Bunque who has plenty of power off the tee and the local knowledge of caddie Peter Robertson, a member at Royal Queensland and Golf Australia magazine Top 100 Course Ranking panellist.

Bunque was attentive during practice rounds when learning the layout and will likely enjoy the extra challenge of some wind during the tournament proper.

Round 1: Thursday (Fox Sports 503 11:30am – 4:30pm)
Round 2: Friday (Fox Sports 503 11:30am – 4:30pm)
Round 3: Saturday (Fox Sports 503 11:30am – 4:30pm)
Round 4: Sunday (Fox Sports 503 11:30am – 4:30pm)
*AEDT, check local guides