Klatten and Arnold take Vic Open honours
BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2012 Victorian Open | Wrap | 08 Jan 2012
Sydney golfer Scott Arnold has won his first four round tournament as a professional by taking out the Victorian Open at the Spring Valley Golf Club in Melbourne by one shot over fellow New South Wales golfer Kurt Barnes.
In the Women’s Victorian Open, run alongside the men’s event at the same venue, 26 year old Frenchwomen Joanna Klatten held off a miraculous finish by Korean golfer Haeji Kang to win at the second hole of a playoff with Rebecca Flood in 3rd position.
Kang needed to hole her second at the uphill par four 18th and from 107 yards to force a playoff and she did just that taking the Women’s Open into extra time before Klatten won with a par at the second extra hole.
Arnold came from six shots off the 36 hole lead held by New Zealander Mike Hendry to share the lead with Hendry heading into today’s final round of the men’s event and with three birdies in his first seven holes he had established a one shot break over Barnes and two shots over Hendry.
Barnes, a winner in Japan and Korea in 2011, made a brilliant start to the final day and when he eagled the 7th he was five under for the day and shared of the lead. That was short lived however as Arnold would birdie the 7th but when Arnold bogeyed the 9th Barnes and Arnold turned for home all tied up at 11 under.
The par four 11th is one of the more demanding holes on the golf course, especially from the tee, and it would play a key role in the outcome of the event. Barnes double bogeyed the hole and although Arnold would also make a mistake, his bogey left him with a lead he would not surrender.
Barnes, the winner of this event in 2005, bogeyed the 13th and 14th holes but just when his race appeared as if it was over he was back with a birdie at the 13th and an eagle at the 17th to get within one. Arnold was equal to the task however and birdies at the 16th and 17th gave him a one shot lead playing the last.
He was able to hang on, despite facing a plugged lie in the bunker at the last, and take the Victorian Open title, the former Australian Amateur Champion now a 72 hole winner as a professional.
Log time leader, Mike Hendry finished on his own in 3rd position, four shots behind the runner-up Barnes.
Matthew Ballard, Peter Lonard, Leigh McKechnie and Nick Cullen shared 4th position, Lonard adding a round of 67 to his Saturday 68 to equal the weekend 36 hole totals of Arnold and Barnes.
Currently ranked 426 in the world, Klatten gave an indication in yesterday’s second round that she might well be the surprise packet of the week when she recovered from a quintuple bogey at her 10th hole of the day to finish with 70 to remain in the hunt heading into today’s final round.
Today Klatten began the final round five shots behind the overnight leader, Rebecca Flood, but another great display on the demanding Spring Valley layout saw her finish her round ahead of Kang and as she waited it became apparent that Kang would need a miracle at the last if there was to be any other result than a win by the Frenchwoman.
To everyone’s surprise and delight Kang produced that miracle from just on 100 metres and it was on to the first playoff hole. Klatten was forced to hole a lengthy par saving putt to stay alive but at the second extra hole Kang three putted and it was all over.
Flood finished in third position while Frances Bondad and the strong finishing Rachel Bailey finished in a tie for 4th.
26 year old Klatten, from Paris, played collegiate golf in the US at Georgia State and the College of Charleston before embarking on a professional career.
Klatten finished 82nd on the Ladies European Tour’s Henderson Money List in 2011 but appears to have turned her game – and perhaps her career – around with this magnificent start to the year.
The tournament was jointly staged in order to host the Women’s and Men’s Victorian Opens concurrently.
The men now head to Kingston Heath for this week’s Australiasin version of International Final Qualifying for the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes in July while the Women play a two day Pro Am at Moss Vale Golf Club starting on January 12th.
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