Kyriacou, Kemp out of maiden Aust WPGA

·2-min read

Steph Kyriacou and Sarah Kemp have been ruled out as COVID-19 cases swept through the field on the eve of the Australian WPGA Championship in Brisbane.

With Hannah Green already a late scratching, LPGA Tour-bound Kyriacou was set to be the face of the new event at Royal Queensland Golf Club from Thursday.

Organisers had initially delayed the announcement of Thursday's groupings after Kyriacou, who had tested positive using a rapid antigen test, awaited the result of a PCR test that confirmed the result late on Wednesday afternoon.

"I was really looking forward to playing this week and getting back into tournament golf," Kyriacou said.

"It's pretty devastating not to be able to play in the WPGA Championship but unfortunately it is out of my control."

Kemp initially tested negative after learning on Tuesday her sister had caught the virus.

But on Wednesday, a day after declaring her intention to lift the Karrie Webb Cup, a rapid test returned a positive result.

Unable to confirm the results of an ensuing PCR test in time, Kemp too was ruled out of the running for the $180,000 first prize in what would have been her first Australian tournament in two years.

"I was only saying on Tuesday how much winning this week would mean to me so to have to now withdraw is extremely disappointing," Kemp said.

"It was disappointing when my results came back positive this morning and given how little time there is before the start of the tournament there wasn't really any other option."

Matt Guyatt and Zach Kelly were also late scratchings in the Australian PGA Championship, which will run alongside the women's event in Brisbane.

Green was originally announced as the star attraction but was a victim of her home state Western Australia's tight border restrictions and ruled herself out earlier this month.

Australian No.1 and world No.7 Minjee Lee, who on Tuesday was awarded the Greg Norman Medal as Australia's best golfer for a second time, is also a non-starter in the 24-woman field.

The tournament was ironically created to bolster a domestic calendar crippled by the virus.

They will play alongside the men for equal first-place prizemoney in a format that has sparked interest after the men's event was cancelled last year.

Now, after being rescheduled to January, the tournament will miss some of its biggest US-based stars.

The virus has also forced the cancellation of the men's and women's Australian Open for a second-straight year.

An expanded, stand-alone Australian WPGA Championship in the future was flagged at the event's launch in November.

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