David Diaz wins 2006 Victorian Open
BY iseekgolf.com | Von Nida Tour | 2006 Victorian Open | Wrap | 05 Feb 2006
Victorian professional David Diaz has won the 2006 Victorian Open following the final round played at the Woodlands Golf Club today.
Diaz fired a four-under par round of 68 to finish at 14-under and win by two strokes from Queensland’s Marcus Cain and rookie professional Aron Price from New South Wales on 12-under. Cain and Price both returned final rounds of 68.
Accepting the Victorian Open Cup, Diaz commented “I really have to pinch myself because it’s a dream to win this trophy”. A former Victorian State player in his amateur days, he added “I used to watch this event on television when I was a kid thinking of being a golf pro, so to win is very special”.
The 58-man final day field was greeted to perfect scoring conditions for the third day in a row with bright blue skies, temperatures in the mid 20’s and a moderate southerly breeze. Par was seemingly worthless as birdies were required to challenge for the title.
The 38-year-old Victorian took early control with birdies on the first and second to move to 12-under and maintain a one-stroke lead over fellow fast starter Euan Walters. The 2004 winner of the Jacobs Creek Open birdied three of the opening four holes to get to 11-under before falling away in the latter part of the front nine. Walters eventually shot an even par 72 to finish at eight under for the Championship.
Joint overnight leader Scott Laycock had a quiet start with a birdie on the par five second balanced by a bogey on the short third to remain a further stroke adrift through the early holes. The 2001 Champion couldn’t seem to get going on the final day and had a one-over 73 to finish in a tie for fifth at nine-under.
Charges were mounted by Queenslander Tony Carolan and local Cameron Percy as both reached nine-under through the opening nine of their respective final rounds. While Carolan faded over the back nine to finish at eight-under, Percy, the 2005 Victorian PGA winner continued his run with birdies at the 14th and 17th to take the early afternoon clubhouse lead with a 67 for 11-under.
First round leader Aron Price was also making inroads, recovering from an opening bogey with birdies on the fourth, sixth, seventh and ninth to get within one of the lead and climb into contention at 11-under.
Meanwhile, Diaz strengthened his claim for the Championship through the toughest part of the course. A birdie two at the difficult eighth, solid par at nine and a further birdie at the 400-metre 10th saw the former Schweppes Coolum Classic winner get to 14-under and briefly hold a three-stroke buffer from the former US Collegiate golf star.
A three-putt bogey on the par three 11th dropped the lead back to two-strokes as ACT young gun Andrew McKenzie entered the fray after a birdie on the 12th to also get to 11-under for the tournament.
Price piled on the pressure with his fifth birdie for the day at the 13th to cut the margin to just one-stroke. However Diaz remained steady with par golf from the 12th to 14th before a birdie four at the 15th gave him a two-stroke lead.
A late bogey to Price at the 17th gave Diaz a little breathing space, although the 23-year-old birdied the final hole to eventually finish tied for runner-up in just his fourth professional event in Australia. The likeable Sydneysider will be a player to watch in the years ahead.
Despite a bogey on the treacherous par three 17th, Diaz held his nerve to have a four on the par five closing hole and win his first title since the 2003 Queensland PGA. He becomes the 36th player to win the Victorian Open since the event was first played in 1957.
“I knew I’d have to shoot three or four under to win,” he said after the round. “I got off to a flyer, holed a 50 foot putt for birdie on 10 and then had a soft three-putt on 11 that shook me. Although, I was more nervous when I knew I had a two shot lead playing the last”.
Diaz’s form leading into the Victorian Open had been patchy.
“I was particularly disappointed with how I played in the Portsea Pro-Am at the beginning of January’” he said. “That really gave me the kick in the backside that I needed to do something about it”.
The leading amateur for the 2006 Championship was Victorian State Team captain Andrew Tampion from Kingswood. The 21-year-old closed with a 67 to finish on 209 (seven-under), three strokes clear of fellow State Team member Ashley Hall from Huntingdale. World Junior Amateur Champion Jason Day was a further two strokes behind on 214 (two-under) after a last day 74.
Source – Victoria Golf