Defending women’s champion ruled out of Golden Open tournament

Neale HarveyKalgoorlie Miner
Erin Classen during the 2023 Golden Open PSA women's grand final against Sophie Fadaely.
Camera IconErin Classen during the 2023 Golden Open PSA women's grand final against Sophie Fadaely. Credit: Carwyn Monck/Kalgoorlie Miner

Victorian squash star and No.1 seed Sarah Cardwell’s quest for a second Cooper Fluid Systems Golden Open title this weekend in Kalgoorlie-Boulder will be boosted in the absence of Erin Classen.

Classen, the two-time reigning champion and No.3 seed, formally withdrew last week because of an injury.

Other withdrawals have reduced the women’s PSA field from 16 players to 10, but tournament director Peter Siebert said it remained an excellent showcase.

“Ten (players) is OK for us because it’s still our biggest-ever women’s PSA turnout,” he said.

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It leaves Queensland teenager Madison Lyon, the No.2 seed, as the main challenger to Cardwell who won the Golden Open in 2021.

Lyon, 18, last week captured her first PSA Challenger Tour victory in the Auckland Open.

Cardwell and Lyon each have a bye when the tournament starts on Thursday afternoon.

Meanwhile, visa issues among the Pakistani entries has affected the men’s field, which has been cut from 25 players to 17.

“Fortunately no-one from the top-eight has pulled out, so it’s still a very strong field,” Siebert said.

Tournament stalwart Mike Corren is the No.7 seed.

In the twilight of his career, Corren chases an eighth Golden Open title.

Corren, 50, has been a mainstay at the Golden Open for years, including an historic 2014 victory which earned him a landmark 50th career title with his win against top seed Jan Koukal from the Czech Republic.

His commitment to the Golden Open produced a maiden title in 2009.

He followed up in 2010 but was thwarted for a title hat-trick in 2011 when he was bundled out in four sets by England’s Anthony Graham.

Corren bounced back to win in 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2021.

The PSA events are complemented this weekend by six men’s and three women’s divisions.

Competition on Thursday at the Ray Finlayson Sporting Complex starts at 1pm and continues the next day at 2pm.

Action on the Saturday and Sunday of the June long weekend starts at 8am, with the Sunday finals scheduled for 4pm (women) and 5pm (men).

As part of the lead-up to the Golden Open, Squash WA are in Kalgoorlie-Boulder for a series of community engagement events, including local schools on Wednesday.

The program includes mini-squash at North Kalgoorlie Primary School and Kalgoorlie Primary School on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

An officiating session will be held on Thursday night from 6.30pm to 7.30pm.

A silent auction to raise funds for the Golden Open is being held via the Eastern Goldfields Squash Racquets Association Facebook page.

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