China’s Yanhong Pan
China’s Yanhong Pan

Australia’s Rebecca Artis came agonisingly close to winning on home soil, but a birdie on the last by China’s Yanhong Pan saw her capture the inaugural Australia Classic, played at Sydney’s Twin Creeks Golf and Country Club last month.

On a day when the lead changed several times, Artis came to the 18th in the box seat, holding the outright lead at 14-under-par.  A poor tee shot on the tough 18th, however, left her with a long approach in.  Pan responded with a solid tee shot, followed by a great approach to 12-feet.

A missed par putt by Artis left the door open for Pan to capture the title with a birdie, and thus avoid a potential playoff.  The four-time winner on the CLPGA held her nerve and sank the putt to secure the win, finishing at 14-under-par after rounds of 68, 65 and 69.  Artis finished runner-up at 13-under-par, while China’s, Zipi Ye finished outright third a further three shots back. First round co-leader Sarah Oh was fourth, while Nikki Campbell shared fifth place with Malaysia’s Michelle Koh.

For Artis, coming so close to winning on home soil was a bittersweet result.

“I played pretty solid golf all day today. I hit some great shots coming down the stretch. I birdied 15 and 17… hit a great one into 17 to give me a one-shot lead.  I just hit a poor tee shot on the 18th and left myself too far in and it was a great birdie by her [Pan].  That was one of the toughest holes on the golf course.  That was an awesome birdie,” she said.

“I have done some pretty hard work with Gaz (Gary Edwin) and Luke Edwin leading into this week and felt my game was pretty good leading in. I putted solid all week, holed some good putts today and all week. That was the main thing.”

Artis took home a cheque for over $15,000 and left with a great deal of confidence in her game.

“Absolutely gives me confidence. It is all about putting yourself in contention, week-in and week-out and hopefully one day I can finish it off. But I am looking forward to China and Turkey.  I had a great Aussie summer so I can’t be disappointed at all.”

The Australia Classic was the first co-sanctioned event between the CLPGA and ALPG in Australia.

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