In a huge step forward for women’s golf, Augusta National have announced that starting from next year, they will be holding an annual women’s amateur championship.

Held the week preceding the Masters, the 54-hole tournament will feature 72 players.

Rounds one and two will be held at the Champions Retreat Club in Augusta, before the final round is played at Augusta National on the Saturday before the championship begins.

In a statement made today, Chairman of Augusta National Fred Ridley said he believed the tournament would have a ‘significant and lasting impact on the future of the women’s game’.

He said: “Our hope and expectation is that this event will further energize those who already love the sport and inspire others through the dream of competing at Augusta National.”

Expected to be televised and covered around the world, the event will bring further attention and interest to the women’s game and also hopefully lead to more girls taking up the game.

Augusta National did not allow female members until 2012. This brings further significance to this important move and shows how much the game has progressed in just the last six years.

One of the first female members was former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, who was present in the audience during today’s announcement.

Players and figures from the industry have already expressed their support for the event.

The Ladies European Tour called it ‘very interesting and welcome news’, while Cheyenne Woods and Jessica Korda were amongst the professional golfers who couldn’t wait to express their excitement.

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