English teenager Georgia Hall has claimed the biggest title of her promising professional career after holding off Nanna Madsen and defending champion Marianne Skarpnord to win the 2016 Oates Vic Open.
Hall led the tournament from the opening day and finished at 11-under par, one shot clear of Denmark’s Madsen and Norway’s Skarpnord after posting a final round of two-under par 71.
The trio virtually went head-to-head over the final round at Barwon Heads’ Thirteenth Beach – all at one stage holding or sharing the lead.
But Skarpnord fell out of contention to win back-to-back titles after bogeying the 16th and Madsen missed a birdie putt on the final hole that would have forced a play-off.
Hall held her nerve in the final few holes to claim the title and the 19-year-old was delighted to become the first English woman to win the Oates Vic Open.
“We were so tight the whole way through until the last two holes so I really had to fight out there which made it more enjoyable actually,” said Hall.
“It’s an amazing start to the year as this was actually the first tournament that I had played in.”
Hall was overcome with emotion after her victory and revealed she kept looking at the tattoo on the inside of right wrist that reminded her to breathe deeply on the course.
“I sometimes rush my swing or my decisions and it’s a big meaning for me to try and take my time,” Hall said.
“I’ve had this for seven months now and it’s a great help because it always.
“Now, I can’t wait to speak to my parents who have been watching the stream from home (Bournemouth)”.
Hall’s victory means she has automatic entry into the Women’s Australian Open in Adelaide in a fortnight’s time.
“I can’t wait for the next few weeks, I’m really enjoying it here (Australia) and the weather is great,” said Hall.
“Now I really just want to enjoy my golf and be the best I can in the game, I’m not a really a loud player.”
She added, “I’m kind of quiet and stick around my friends; the aim is to let my golf do the talking and luckily this weekend it has.”
Taiwanese teenager Yu-Sang Hou was the leading amateur and finished outright fourth after firing the day’s best round of six-under par 67.
France’s Justine Dreher rounded out the top five at five-under par while Su Oh was the highest-ranked Australian at four-under par and tied for sixth.
The tournament’s drawcard, former world No.1 Karrie Webb, finished her tournament on a high with a final round of five-under 68 to finish tied for 11th at three-under par.
Webb’s pairing with South Australian pair Stephanie Na and Jenny Lee attracted huge galleries and she was delighted to play strongly ahead of the Women’s Australian Open.
“Improvement every day so that’s good to see,” Webb said.
“Today there was still a few loose iron shots and a couple of loose drives but it was much improved from the first day.
“I’ve really enjoyed the week and hopefully in the future it fits into my schedule where I can come back again and play.”