The 12-player tournament which is aimed at engaging with youth and projecting golf to a different market, was started in 2021 at Coolangatta and Tweed Heads golf clubs in Queensland, and achieved outstanding growth in 2022 when it was moved to Sandy Links in the Melbourne Sandbelt.
The tournament is now a joint venture between the WPGA Tour of Australasia, the PGA of Australia, Golf Australia and Evolve Sports Group who developed and delivered the first two years of the concept, highlighting the continued collaboration between the peak bodies of golf.
It begins on Saturday afternoon with ‘The Combine’, a series of nine challenges for the elite players involved, with points allocated and only eight of the 12 players graduating to Sunday’s matchplay phase.
Sunday’s matchplay is head-to-head over four holes at Sandy Links with the winners progressing ultimately to a two-player final to decide the winner of this year’s Athena.
Last year’s winner, Perth’s Kirsten Rudgeley, has recently turned professional and is now playing on the Ladies European Tour.
Kelsey Bennett headlines the list of professionals taking part this weekend. PHOTO: Australian Golf Media.
WPGA Chief Executive Officer Karen Lunn said: “We’re delighted with the way that The Athena has grown already. It just shows that there is an appetite for tournaments that are a little different in format.
“The Athena is a lot of fun. The public can see that the players are enjoying themselves especially with the challenges that happen on the first day and that’s infectious.
“We think this event has a lot of potential to grow even further and we hope that people will come out to see the best young players in the country as well as watch on TV.”
There are eight professionals and four amateurs in the field this year.
Top professionals include the outstanding St Michael’s (NSW) player Kelsey Bennett, American college star Amelia Mehmet Grohn, Kiwi Hanee Song and Melbourne teaching pro Grace Lennon, who recently performed outstandingly well in the Webex Players Series.
The amateurs will be led by Queenslander Justice Bosio, twice runner-up in the Australian Amateur and soon to play in the Augusta National Women’s Invitational.
The tournament will be telecast live on Saturday and Sunday by Fox Sports and Kayo Sports throughout Australia.
Saturday from 2.35pm:
The Combine (a series of nine challenges)
- Optimum drive
- Long drive
- Long putt
- 100-metre shot
- Bunker shot
- Trouble shot
- Mystery shot
- Lob shot
- Nearest the pin.
Each player to have one shot at each challenge and will have one mulligan for the day.
Points awarded – 12 points each challenge for player who is closest to the hole/target, down to 1 point for farthest away.
Sunday from 2.40pm:
Top 8 players from The Combine progress to four-hole matchplay.
Matches are 1-8, 2-7, 3-6, 4-5. Winners progress, with ties settled by a putt off.
Last two players compete in the final. If there is a tie, sudden-death hole and if necessary, followed by a putt-off.
Kelsey Bennett (NSW)
Kono Matsumoto (Vic)
Caitlin Peirce (SA)
Hanee Song (NZ)
Justice Bosio (Qld)
Keeley Marx (Vic)
Sarah Yamaki Branch (Qld)
Molly McLean (Vic)
Grace Lennon (Vic)
Jordan O’Brien (Qld)
Rhianna Lewis (Qld)
Amelia Mehmet Grohn (NSW)
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