Unique start to golfing year at Vic Open
BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2012 Victorian Open | Preview | 02 Jan 2012
The first recognised tournament of golfing schedules worldwide in 2012 may well be one of the most unique.
Beginning on Thursday January 5th at the Spring Valley Golf Club amongst Melbourne’s sandbelt collection of golf courses, the Victorian Open will witness the co-staging of an event between the PGA of Australia and Australian Ladies Professional Golf.
The logistics involved in the running of such an event seem, on the surface, to be extraordinary but the fact that the ALPGA event will be played over 54 holes with the final 36 only being played at the same venue as the Victorian Men’s Open, helps to ease the burden.
The combination of the two events in one on such a fine layout over the closing 36 holes promises to be a significant attraction even if it is so early in the year and, with the Australasian version of Final Qualifying for 2012 the Open Championship to follow at Kingston Heath almost immediately afterwards, a good field has entered the men’s event.
All four rounds of the men’s open will be played at Spring Valley while for the women they will play their opening round at the Woodlands Golf Club on Friday before playing their second round at Spring Valley on Saturday afternoon.
The A$125,000 Tier 2 men’s event will cut their field to 50 at the completion of round two on Friday evening and will play round three early on Saturday before the women play later in the day.
On Sunday play will commence very early with male and female groups alternating throughout the day before the respective winners are decided within ten minutes or so of each other, barring playoffs.
The concept offers an important new and hopefully attractive angle for events of this nature where the fields are not at the strength they have been in recent months in Australian golf.
The Victorian Open has however attracted very good crowds in recent years where Ashley Hall, Jason Norris and Paul Sheehan have been the three winners at this venue.
Two time Australian Open, three time Australian PGA and twice Australian Masters Champion, Peter Lonard, fresh from an improved showing at the recent J.B. Were Masters headlines the men’s field ahead of the likes of recent NZ Open runner-up, Craig Parry, defending champion, Paul Sheehan, Victorian PGA Champion and winner on the 2011 Nationwide Tour, James Nitties, and Japan and OneAsia Golf Tour winner in 2011 Kurt Barnes.
Amongst the Women’s Victorian Open field are former LPGA Tour’s LPGA Championship runner-up Lindsey Wright, Ladies European Tour winners in 2011, Kristie Smith and Frances Bondad, Japan Tour player, Tamie Durdin, and LPGA Tour players, Sarah Kemp and Sarah Jane Smith.
The Women’s Victorian Open will also play for prize-money of A$125,000.
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