Oates Vic Open
Round 4 - Reid beats Gal in playoffFebruary 12, 2017
England’s Melissa Reid took the first title of the 2017 Ladies European Tour season, the Oates Vic Open, when she defeated Germany’s Sandra Gal on the third extra hole in a sudden death play-off at 13th Beach Golf Links in Australia.
On a blustery afternoon in Barwon Heads which saw winds gusts up to 55 kilometres per hour, the lead switched hands several times before Sandra Gal set the clubhouse lead at 16-under-par after firing a superb four-under-round 69.
Reid had a chance to win on the 72nd hole of the tournament after hitting a superb three-wood to the front of the green on the par-518th hole, but took three putts from long range to send the tournament into extra time. On the first play-off hole, both players made par after Reid once again took three putts from the edge of the green, with the second extra hole almost being a carbon copy of the first.
The third time around, Gal hit her third shot just over the back of the green and failed to get up and down leaving Reid with a putt from a metre to win.
The 29-year-old from Derby, who had led by two overnight, made no mistakes this time and holed out confidently to earn her sixth Ladies European Tour title and the first prize cheque of AU$75,000.
After winning her first ever play-off, Reid said: “It was honestly brutal out there. That’s one of the toughest winds that I’ve had, especially with the start that I got. I didn’t feel I’d hit a bad shot in the first five holes so to be three over after four was unreal. It was a true test of golf, you know, and brought a lot of character out so I’m over the moon that I managed to get the win.
“One of the best rounds I’ve ever shot was in the second round at Turnberry and it was very similar to that. Fair play to Sandra: four-under today was an incredible score.
“I’ve done it before and I knew the front nine was going to be the hard nine and Benji kept saying to me, there are a lot of opportunities. That was a huge eagle, on five, and I hit a great shot into six and three whacked that, got lucky on seven and pretty steady from then on. It was one of the best pars I’ve ever had, on 15, because my lie for my second shot was in a sand divot, it was awful. That was a big par save and then a big putt on 16 and another on 17. You’ve just got to hang in there, because there are a lot of holes to go and with the conditions, people can make double bogeys out there.
“I wanted to get to 17 (under). We knew Sandra was on 16 (under) and it would have been nice to birdie the 18th but it worked out alright in the end.
“I’ve got a good feeling about this year and I don’t know what it is. I had a good feeling about this week. It was my mum’s birthday on Tuesday so I knew that something good had to happen. We were warming up on the putting green and my mum’s favourite film was Dirty Dancing, and they were playing the theme tune to Dirty Dancing, and I said to Benji, ‘I’ve just got a feeling about this week, it’s fate, you know?’ Then I made a seven on the second and re-thought it.
“I always come out there thinking I’m going to win. It’s just nice to put myself in that position and get over the line. Winning a golf tournament is the hardest thing to do. I’m just very, very happy I’ve managed to win in Australia.
“The way I’m hitting it, and striking it, I could have been 20-under but it was just my putter that let me down.
“I said yesterday, I just feel very at home here and I really like the way of life. I feel very comfortable and we’ve got a great house this week, staying with Laura (Davies) and the boys and Rebecca Artis and Geoff. I always seem to enjoy myself and I always look forward to this trip every year.”
Australia Su Oh from Victoria tied for third place with American teenager Angel Yin, while South Korean amateur Hye-Jin Choi was fifth.
Australians Hannah Green and Whitney Hillier both had solid weeks finishing in a tie for 6th place with England’s Holly Clyburn, Tonje Daffinrud of Norway, Belen Mozo from Spain and South Korean Eun Jeong Seong.
New South Welshman Dimi Papadatos took out the men’s Oates Vic Open title defeating Jake McLeod and Adam Bland by two shots.
Round 3 - Reid takes lead after 6-under 67February 11, 2017
Englishwoman Melissa Reid will take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Oates Vic Open tomorrow after shooting a superb third round of six-under par 67.
Reid started the day four shots behind the overnight leader Dane Nicole Broch Larsen, and wasted no time narrowing the gap to two shots after a sizzling start with birdies at the opening two holes. Reid kept her foot firmly on the accelerator making a superb eagle three at the par-5 fifth hole, following up with another birdie at the 6th to find herself alone in the lead at 13 under par after Broch Larsen had faltered early dropping four shots in her opening six holes.
The 29-year-old missed her share of birdie chances through the next five holes before holing from two metres for birdie after hitting a fine tee shot on the par 3 12th hole. She arrived at the drivable 280-metre par 4 15th at 15-under for the tournament and proceeded to smash her driver pin high to ensure another birdie on her card.
Reid’s momentum was halted briefly at the par four 16th hole after she flew the green with her second shot and was forced to get up and down for a bogey, but the ship was steadied when the Derby native punched home a par putt from two metres for par at the par 3 17th hole.
As she had done most of the day Reid proceeded to hit two superb shots to the front of the green at the par 5 18th hole, before disappointingly three-putting for a par and a 6 under par round of 67, meaning the five-time LET winner would sleep tonight on a two-stroke lead.
Clearly frustrated with her finish Reid felt that she had not capitalised on her many chances today, especially on the par fives on the back nine. “I feel like I have struck the ball really well all week and also in the Bahamas two weeks ago. The difference is that I am starting to make some putts at important times. I did leave a few out there today, I had a lot of chances and not making birdie at 14 standing in the fairway with a 9 iron for my second shot and also at 18 not making birdie there is a bit disappointing.”
“I kind of needed that pressure on my putting because I’ve worked extremely hard on my putting and not been rewarded for it yet. I spoke to my coach Kevin (Craggs) last night and got one little tip about balance.”
Reid also spoke of her fondness for playing in Australia and how comfortable she feels here “I always get a lot of support when I am here. Aussies like to work hard and play hard and that is me really. To win here would be like winning an Australian Open, the crowds are massive and it is a great atmosphere playing out here, this is a great field and I will need to play well tomorrow to win.”
The 2017 Solheim Cup is well and truly on Reid’s radar and she has her sights firmly set on making the European team this year.
Reid currently sits 11th on the European Solheim Cup standings and she said: “I need to get Annika’s (European Captain Annika Sorenstam) attention. It would be hard for me to qualify automatically, but a win here would really help me.”
Two shots behind Reid at 13-under-par are Victorian Su Oh and talented American youngster Angel Yin, with Spaniard Belen Mozo, Australian Amateur champion Hye Jin Choi and German star Sandra Gal a further shot back at 12 under par.
The final round will start at 7:45am local time in Australia from the first tee on the Beach Course at 13th Beach Links in Barwon Heads, with live streaming from one hour before the leaders tee off.
Round 2 - Broch Larsen claims halfway leadFebruary 10, 2017
Denmark’s Nicole Broch Larsen grabbed a two stroke lead at the Oates Vic Open at 13th Beach in Australia on Friday as the 2015 runner-up Su Oh matched her own course record, her 8-under 65 on the Beach Course leaving her as one of four players in second position at the halfway mark.
Broch Larsen had played 34 holes in the Ladies European Tour’s season opener this week without a bogey before recording her first dropped stroke on the par-3 17th.
Despite carding straight rounds of 6-under 67 on the Creek and Beach Courses respectively, Broch Larsen says she’s yet to produce her best golf.
“I think I’ve got some good bounces,” joked the 2015 Helsingborg Open winner. “I’m not hitting the ball like I really want to, I’m not flushing it at all.
“I hit 16 greens [in regulation] today and 17 yesterday, so I’m going good even though I’m not striking the ball well.”
“I think the greens are trickier on the Beach and the wind was tough for me to figure out on the last couple of holes. The par 5s are still quite reachable so a couple of birdie chances there but I think it’s playing a bit longer,” said Broch Larsen, who has four professional wins, including two on the LET Access Series, one on the LET and her most recent, on the Symetra Tour in October 2015.
The four players who are two strokes behind are Su Oh, Holly Clyburn, Whitney Hillier and Sandra Gal.
Oh, who represented Australia at the Rio Olympic Games, was proud of her Friday 65 but admitted she’d still left herself work to do over the weekend.
“So I needed one more birdie to beat it?” asked Oh when she was informed she’d matched her 2015 Beach Course record. “Disappointing… but the lead is only two shots. There’s a lot of birdie opportunities out there, we get into the par-5s in two and we’ve been hitting a lot of short irons and wedges in, so I think there’s a lot of birdies out there. I left a couple out there, I made a six on a par-5 again!”
Oh’s opening 2-under 71 on the Creek Course meant the spotlight shone elsewhere heading into day two, but that changed after lunch on Friday when the 20-year-old made the turn at 6-under par for the round.
Gal recorded six birdies of her own in a frantic eight-hole stretch that kick started her tournament, while England’s Clyburn ground to a round of 69 that saw her retain her share of second place at the end of play.
Overnight leader Laura Davies, the 45-time LET winner, followed her staggering opening round of 65 with a 3-over 76, but the four-time major winner remains in the hunt at 13th Beach, currently in a share of 18th on the standings at five-under for the week.
Fellow Englishwoman Melissa Reid looked frustrated on Friday, a 3-under 70 leaving her in a share of sixth with South Korean amateur Hye-Jin Choi at 9-under, while American Angel Yin and Australian veteran Katherine Kirk are tied for eighth.
Round 1 - Great start for Davies in AustraliaFebruary 09, 2017
Dame Laura Davies turned back the clock to her glory days as the veteran English star made a spectacular start to this year’s Oates Vic Open at 13th Beach Golf Links in Australia.
Davies showed why she’s one of the greats of the game after firing an opening round of eight-under par 65 around the Creek course, equaling the record around that layout set by Sarah-Jane Smith back in 2013.
The winner of more than 80 official tournaments leads by two shots from countrywomen Melissa Reid and Holly Clyburn, German Sandra Gal, Denmark’s Nicole Broch Larsen and West Australian Whitney Hillier.
That quintet also took advantage of the benign morning conditions on the Creek course to fire rounds of five-under 67.
“I’ve been working on my putting, that’s been the weakest part (of my game),” said Davies, who had 29 putts in her first round.
“I drove it well. It was just a really solid day. We were really lucky with the conditions, we hardly had any wind at all.”
Davies showed all her skills on the par-five seventh after her ball lodged under the lip of a fairway bunker off the tee. She had to chip sideways and then dropped her third shot into a greenside bunker.
“I’ve never seen a ball do that on a Melbourne-type bunker,” Davies said. “These are superb, the course is in great condition, but I’ve picked the one six inches that had a little bit of roots of the grass that grabbed my ball and it was stuck under the lip at the top.
“I actually did really well to get it out where I got it to then unfortunately hit a shocking nine-iron in the front bunker but managed to get up and down.
“That would have been cruel to have had a bogey on my card today.”
Davies described a five-iron approach on the par-four eighth from about 160m to 15 feet as her best shot of the day.
After a horrendous 2016, where Davies estimated she missed 14 cuts around the globe, playing well and putting her name back in contention this week is high on her list of priorities.
“I feel like I’m just learning how to compete again because you can’t just jump in with a chance to win and think you’re going to do it when you’ve had such a long time trying to make cuts,” Davies said.
“I’m not saying I’m going to win this but I would love dearly to shoot four rounds under par: that would be my goal.
“If I play like I did today, I’ll win – but who’s to say I’m going to play like that?”
Davies and Reid are among a group sharing a house together in Barwon Heads this week.
A bogey on the final hole was Reid’s only blemish of the day but, having never played on the Creek course before today, she’s happy to be around the top of the leaderboard in her Oates Vic Open debut.
Larsen was also pleased with her bogey-free opening round in her 13th Beach debut having left the depths of a Danish winter.
“I didn’t really make any birdies in the beginning but stayed patient. Then they started dropping and I turned four-under and birdied 10 and 11 and made pars from there.
“Six under is really good because I’m not striking the ball as I want to, but my putting has been good so hopefully I can keep that up.”
Hillier, who played in the same group as Gal, opened with a bogey but holed out for eagle from 102m on the par-five 10th which kick-started her round.
“It’s just one of those courses where you’ve got to stay patient and plot your way around,” Hillier said.
The 26-year-old from Perth is looking forward to moving onto the Beach course tomorrow afternoon.
“You’ve just got to plot your way around the Beach course,” Hillier said. “There’s so many opportunities (to make birdies). You just play punch shots under the wind if you need to and play safely and be conservative.”