Men: Hawkes tops Endycott in playoff

Tasmanian Simon Hawkes has claimed a career changing victory at the Oates Vic Open at 13th Beach Golf Links.

Hawkes finished regulation play tied for the lead with New South Welshman Harrison Endycott on 14-under 274 thanks to a birdie on the 72nd hole.

It took just one playoff hole for the 29-year-old to record his first victory on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia for which he earned full status this year at Qualifying School.

It’s a career-making moment; Hawkes will now head to Perth for the European Tour and Asian Tour tri-sanctioned ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth. He will also enjoy playing in Australia’s largest tournaments for the next three years.

“I’m just flabbergasted right now, I kind of knew that I was playing well coming into the week,” said Hawkes.

“The thing about winning these sort of titles, they are forever, every year people are going to look at that and my name is going to be on it and they are going to be looking at my name hopefully the same way I’m looking at some of these names right now so it’s just unbelievable.”

He had the chance to finish the tournament in regulation with an eagle on the 18th hole however he eventually made birdie, forcing a playoff with Endycott.

“The playoff hole was exactly like regulation, same wind direction exact same shot maybe just a little more right in regulation. Both of us probably didn’t hit out the greatest shots in the bunker and then Harrison played a pretty good shot out,” added Hawkes.

“I actually felt quite calm, for me I’d achieved beyond any expectations I set myself this week and I just thought whatever happened it was going to be a bonus.”

Hawkes began the year with a goal of finishing high enough at Qualifying School to see him safely in to most fields in the 2018 ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia season.

“I went to Q-School this year hopefully trying to get as much status as possible, then I looked at trying to get into Perth by finishing top-5 there and fell short. Then my other option was to win one of the first two events and somehow it manifested that way so it’s great.”

While Endycott finished runner-up, Queenslanders Anthony Quayle and Cory Crawford finished tied for third at 11-under the card.

Local hope Ben Eccles made a charge up the leaderboard with a final round of 7-under 65 to share fifth place with Steven Jeffress at 10-under the card.

Victorians Matias Sanchez and Zach Murray were the highest finishing amateurs tied for 24th at 6-under the card.

For his win, Hawkes picks up AUD $117,000 and moves to the top of the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit.

 

Women: Lee seals second Vic Open Title

Australia’s number one woman golfer, Minjee Lee put on a golfing masterclass at the Oates Vic Open today, firing a superb 6 under par round of 67 to cruise to a 5-shot win over 19-year-old Queensland rookie Karis Davidson.

The 21-year-old from Perth birdied the par-5 18th on the Beach Course at 13th Beach in front of huge crowds for a total of 279, 13-under-par, five better than Davidson who closed with a 71. The Scottish-born Queenslander was delighted to finish second in her first tournament as a professional. Lee’s former West Australian teammate, Hannah Green playing in the final pairing with Lee and Davidson shot a final round 70 to finish in joint third place with England’s Georgia Hall.

“I was a little bit nervous out there, coming down the stretch, but I think I put that pressure on myself, so it’s nice to come out with a win,” said Lee, who claimed the Oates Vic Open for a second time, having previously won in 2014 as an amateur, aged 17.

This was her fourth win as a professional, following three wins on the LPGA from 2015-2016 and she added: “I don’t think I’ve won at home since the Vic Open so it’s really nice to win in Australia again.”

The world number 20 began the final round with a one-stroke lead over Davidson, but she was four-under through seven holes and had moved four strokes clear with a birdie and an eagle on the fourth and fifth holes. From that point on, she never gave the other players a chance. She and Davidson both birdied the short seventh and although Lee dropped a shot at the par-4 eighth, she put on a clinical display of controlled ball-striking on the back nine, picking up birdies on the 14th, 15th and 18th holes in the sunny, breezy conditions.

Her mother, father and brother Min Woo, who was playing in the men’s Oates Vic Open, were there to celebrate.

She said afterwards: “I won this tournament as an amateur and its great to come back and do it as a pro. Twice is a charm! Obviously playing with the men is a different concept and its great. Look how many people are out here. I love coming back here and I will definitely try to get back next year. It’s great with all the people walking up the fairways as well.”

Karen Lunn, CEO of Australian Ladies Professional Golf, said: “The Oates Vic Open gets bigger and better every year thanks to the vision of Golf Victoria, the support of state and national government, the commitment of the players and the tours and the close involvement of the local community. The tournament continues to be a world leader in providing a level playing field with equal opportunities for men and women golfers and once again, this year’s event has proved a huge hit with everyone involved.”

Commenting on the innovative event, Mark Lichtenhein, chairman of the Ladies European Tour, said: “The Oates Vic Open was not only a superb tournament, but also a strong statement to start the 2018 Ladies European Tour season and we applaud Golf Victoria’s tireless work to create a unique golfing experience for the players and fans alike. Golf is a game that men, women, seniors and juniors play together and as a tour we are proud to be involved with a co-located tournament where men and women compete on equal terms, for the same prize money. By working in conjunction with Golf Victoria and our fellow tours, the Australian Ladies Professional Golf and the PGA Tour of Australasia, we are delighted to have been able to showcase the event to a worldwide audience through LET’s distribution network. We will continue to strive for further innovation and the growth of this progressive event.”

Lee will travel to Canberra for the newly introduced ActewAGL Canberra Classic, being played at Royal Canberra Golf Club from Friday, which will be the second of four tournaments co-sanctioned between the LET and ALPG Tours.

 

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