Close tussle at Vic Open ends with Felton victory
BY iseekgolf.com | Von Nida Tour | 2007 Victorian Open | Wrap | 04 Feb 2007
Western Australian professional Kim Felton has won the 2007 Victorian Open following a dramatic conclusion to the final round played at the Woodlands Golf Club.
The 31-year-old Felton closed with a one-over par round of 73 to finish at eight-under and win by one stroke from a group of three players.
New South Wales professional Aron Price, Steve Collins from Western Australia and Victoria’s Marc Leishman all finished on seven-under as the tournament reached an exciting climax.
Felton’s last round was highlighted by a hole-in-one from 127-metres at the 11th with a nine-iron that opened up a crucial two-stroke lead at that stage from the rampaging Price.
The 54-man final day field was greeted with ideal scoring conditions with bright blue skies and a moderate southerly breeze.
Price set the scene for an exciting last round, rocketing through the outward nine in four-under 32 including birdies at the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 6th and 7th.
In contrast, the overnight leader played steadily with an even-par opening nine of 36.
In search of his first 72-hole victory since the 2005 Knoxville Open on the Nationwide Tour, Felton started well picking up a shot with a birdie at the par-five 2nd.
Par golf followed until a costly bogey at the relatively easy par-five 6th. A bogey on the difficult par four 10th, saw Price and Felton momentarily tied at eight-under.
Felton then sensationally scored an ace in a seemingly decisive blow to create a two-shot break. However, consecutive bogeys at the 13th and 14th, the latter after a three-putt, pushed the 1997 Australian Amateur Champion back into a tie with Price.
Leishman re-entered the frame with his second birdie for the day at the day at the 14th to go to seven-under and trail by a stroke with four holes to play.
Up ahead, the colourful Collins had been chipping away at the leaders all day in compiling a three-under 69.
A six-iron to two metres at the par three 17th and resulting birdie saw the 35-year-old also move into contention at seven under.
After finishing ten metres short of the par-five 18th in two, his resulting pitch slipped three metres past the hole. His birdie putt shaved the edge and the closing par saw him ultimately join the trio of runners-up.
Price fell back to seven-under after taking six on the par five 15th and couldn’t better that mark after missing the green to the left with his second shot at the reachable 18th. He eventually scrambled a par from the greenside bunker.
Leishman boomed his drive to within reach of the 467-metre final hole while Felton played left into the trees, forcing the Western Australian to chip out onto the fairway.
Despite a well struck four-iron, Leishman’s second overshot the small raised green from where he would only make par. The drama continued as Felton’s approach then missed the green short and right.
Needing to get up and down to win the event, he played another superb pitch to within a metre and duly holed to become the 37th player to win the Victorian Open since the event was first played in 1957.
A relieved Felton commented later that, “it wasn’t something I’d to do again”, when recapping the final few holes.
“I hit a couple of iron shots out of the part of the club that you don’t like mentioning”.
A sound short game and great putting held things together in the tense finish.
“I back myself under the pump when I need to hole a putt and I do a lot of chipping at home. The putts I holed were all pretty straight”.
Felton now heads into the co-sanctioned events in coming weeks with renewed confidence.
“I came over here to get ready for the Nationwide events and couldn’t ask for any better preparation really. This course is excellent and quite similar to Kooyonga where we’ll be in a couple of weeks”.
The leading amateur for the 2007 Championship was National Squad member Rick Kulacz.
The Western Australian closed with a 74 to finish on 289 (one-over), two-strokes clear of Victorian State Team member Josh Younger.
Victorian Colts team member Quinton Howe was a further seven strokes behind on 297 (nine-over) after a last day 81.
After two thrilling finishes to the nab Victorian PGA Championship and Victorian Open the Von Nida Tour heads to north for the NSW PGA Championship at Riverside Oaks from the 8th – 11th February.
Source – Von Nida Tour
Photo – Anthony Powter