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Laura Davies to appear in ANZ Championship

Former world number one Laura Davies will become the first woman to play in an Australasian or European men's tour event when she competes at the ANZ Championship north of Sydney next month.

"This is a new challenge for me and something I think I will absolutely enjoy," England's Davies said in a statement released on Wednesday.

"I had the experience of playing against the men at the Korean Open last year and with the modified stableford format used at the ANZ Championship I think I will have a lot of fun.

"I know the Horizons course very well and have enjoyed playing there in recent years."

Teenage American prodigy Michelle Wie, 14, narrowly failed to become the first female to make the cut in a men's PGA Tour event when she competed at this month's Hawaiian Open.

World number one Annika Sorenstam of Sweden became the first woman to play in a PGA Tour event for 58 years, at the Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas last May.

The ANZ Championship near Newcastle in New South Wales from February 12 to 15 is co-sanctioned by the European and Australasian tours.

An albatross at the event is worth eight points, an eagle five, a birdie two, a par none, a bogey minus one and a double bogey minus three.

Tournament chairman Steve Frazer said in a statement: "The ANZ Championship will become the first PGA Tour event in Australasia or Europe to include a woman in their field. Davies has accepted a sponsor's invitation to play."

England's Paul Casey will return to defend his title against a field including Australians Craig Parry, Peter Senior, Jarrod Moseley and Peter O'Malley, and New Zealand's Michael Campbell, Frazer said.

"I have no doubt that Laura will be competitive at Horizons. She hits the ball a mile, knows the course extremely well and will be very well suited to the format," he said.

"It is a great privilege for us to have Laura compete at our event."

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