Victorian Opens share limelight again
BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2014 Victorian Open | Preview | 18 Feb 2014
The Oates Victorian Open will this week be played for the third occasion as an event where the Men’s and Women’s versions are played jointly, with both events culminating at the one venue on Sunday afternoon.
The 36 hole 13th Beach Golf Club facility on the Bellarine Peninsula will again play host, having been first used successfully in 2013 with US based New South Welshman Matthew Giles and Victorian Stacey Keating winning their respective titles.
In 2012 the concept was first introduced to Victorian and indeed Australian golf when played at the Spring Valley Golf Club although on that occasion the Women played their opening rounds at the Woodlands Golf Club before heading to Spring Valley. That year Joanna Klatten and Scott Arnold were the champions.
The Beach and the Creek layouts at 13th Beach provide the unique opportunity for such a concept to be played at the one venue.
Both events will be played over 72 holes with equal prizemoney of $150,000 for either title.
The PGA of Australia and the ALPG jointly sanction the events with Golf Victoria, the Women’s Victorian Open bringing the 2014 ALPG season to a close while for the PGA Tour of Australasia the Second Tier Victorian Open will be followed by the Tier One New Zealand Open in Queenstown next week, the final event on their 2014 schedule until the Fiji International in August.
The Men’s event has attracted a good quality field despite the relatively low purse.
Melbourne based Jin Jeong has returned from his early campaign as a European Tour player to tee it up. Last October Jeong won the Perth International earning European Tour status in the process. The last few weeks had not proved all that productive for Jeong until finishing runner-up two weeks ago in the Joburg Open. On that basis alone he must be considered but several other in form and credentialed players get their chance to shine.
Recent Victorian PGA Champion, Gareth Paddison, a former winner of this event, appears a good prospect again. Paddison was only average last week at the Queensland PGA Championship but he put together a couple of good tournaments over the main events of the summer and added a second Victorian PGA Championship to his collection two weeks ago.
Nick Cullen returns from a successful foray to gain his Asian Tour card last week in Thailand and as one of the most consistent players in the field he stands a very good chance this week.
Other players expected to do well include another Asian Tour graduate Nathan Holman, already proving successful just a few months after turning professional.
Last week’s runner up in Toowoomba, Ryan Fox, is in the field as are multiple European Tour event winners Richard Green and Scott Strange and Matthew Griffin who continues to impress as a professional.
The Women’s field includes the defending champion Stacey Keating who now has conditional LPGA Tour status, England’s Laura Davies, Jessica Speechley who played so well at last week’s Women’s Australian Open, 2012 champion Joanna Klatten, Sarah Jane Smith, Lindsey Wright, Rebecca Artis, Sarah Kemp, Nikki Campbell and Sophie Gustafson.