Michael Long played one of the most miraculous golf shots seen in the history of the Oates Vic Open to win the men’s title at 13th Beach Golf Links.
After shooting a final-round 3-under 69, Long ended regulation play tied for the lead on 13-under 275 with playing partner Matthew Millar who closed his round with three birdies.
Playing the par-5 18th hole in a sudden-death playoff, it took just one trip for Long to be declared the winner, courtesy of an incredible shot from out of the reeds to within eight feet of the hole. A resulting birdie was enough for victory and the $45,000 winner’s cheque.
Naming it “a shot in a hundred” Long said the chip ranks in his top-10 best ever career plays. A lofty title, given Long has been a Tour Professional for 26 years.
Finishing in a tie for third place were Aron Price and Scott Strange on 11-under 277.
On the women’s side, England’s Georgia Hall claimed her second professional victory after shooting a four-round total of 11-under-par.
The 19-year-old from Bournemouth emerged victorious by a single stroke after a day-long battle with defending champion Marianne Skarpnord from Norway and young Danish star Nanna Madsen.
Hall was notably delighted with her win. “I am over the moon. I have worked really hard over the winter and to win my first event of 2016 is amazing. I played really well all week and stayed patient when I needed to. Winning the Olympic youth medal in Sydney was great, and winning my first professional event on the LET Access Tour in 2014 was amazing but this really is a dream come true to win an event like this with such a strong field of professionals.”
Pre-tournament favourite Karrie Webb shot a 5-under-par round 68 to finish in a tie for 11th place, while compatriot Whitney Hillier and amateur Yu Sand Hou from Chinese Taipei both shot 6-under-par rounds of 67, the lowest of the day.
The Oates Victorian Open has grown in popularity over the years, and is one of the real success stories in Australian Golf. This is due in part to both the unique format of men and women playing concurrently, as well as the support of numerous sponsors, especially naming rights sponsor Oates. Oates is an Australian company supplying professional quality cleaning products for the home and industry for over 80 years. The Oates range is currently comprised of over 1300 products with a strong emphasis on continuous improvement, product development and quick and easy, effective cleaning.
Ko rumbles to third NZ Women’s Open victory
World number one Lydia Ko won her third ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open in impressive style at Clearwater Golf Club in Christchurch.
Holding a one-shot overnight lead from French rookie Justine Dreher, Ko fought off early challenges in the final round by American Amelia Lewis and Dane Emily Pedersen, before cruising to a 2-shot victory over Korean amateur Hye Jin Choi, Englishwoman Felicity Johnson and Nanna Madsen.
But the big story of the day wasn’t about Ko’s victory. Just 11 minutes before Ko and playing partner Dreher were due to tee off for their final round, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck just 10kms from the course and had both locals and international visitors in a panic for the 30-second duration of the quake. Over the next five hours there would be a total of 52 further aftershocks. The initial quake was the 9th largest earthquake in Christchurch’s history.
As was the case in 2015, Ko shared her victory with the huge galleries who had come out to watch her play. And in a remarkable display of class and generosity, she announced that she would be donating her entire tournament prizemoney to help New Zealand in some way.
“I have discussed this with my family and my team and this is something that we all want to do. We will seriously think about the best way that we can use this money to help New Zealand.”
Ko dedicated the win to her good friend and mentor former New Zealand Golf President Patsy Hankin who had passed away suddenly last year.
Hall wins Vic PGA in playoff
Ash Hall claimed victory the Mercedes-Benz Truck and Bus Victorian PGA Championship courtesy of a chip-in birdie on the first playoff hole.
Starting the day six shots off the lead, Hall posted 2-under 70 to be in the clubhouse at 11-under the card for the tournament. Watching on as tournament leader David McKenzie had a horror finish—a double-bogey on the 17th and bogey on the 18th—Hall found himself tied for the lead at the end of regulation play.
Playing the 18th at Huntingdale in a sudden-death playoff, a spectacular chip-in birdie from five metres behind the 18th proved enough for Hall to claim victory.
It was an emotional win for Hall who had to come back to PGA Tour of Australasia Qualifying School to earn status at home after he also lost his card on the Web.com Tour at the end of last year.
With this win Hall earned $16,500, Official World Golf Ranking Points and a start in the ISPS Handa Perth International.
Finishing a shot outside of the playoff on 10-under 278 were Matthew Millar, Anthony Houston, Matthew Griffin, Tim Hart, Adam Blyth and Stephen Leaney.
Rounding out the top-10 on the leaderboard with a score of 9-under the card were Todd Sinnott and Brad Shilton.