Both Stacey Keating and Matthew Giles return to the 2014 Oates Vic Open, February 20 – 23, at Thirteenth Beach Golf Links, to defend their titles as Victorian Open Champions on the PGA Tour of Australasia and ALPG Tour. This year’s field will provide a much sterner test for the title holders as the field is notably stronger than last year. However, both champions achieved success in the past year and will draw on this success in order to hold a slight edge over the competition at the Oates Victorian Open.
Stacey Keating, from Cressy, Victoria finished her season ranked 25th on the Ladies European Order of Merit list, a fantastic result for her third year on the Ladies European Tour. A few of Stacey’s highlights from the past season include a 3rd place finish at the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open, a win at The Vintage Club Pro-Am, and a 5th place finish at the Bing Lee Samsung Women’s NSW Open.
Stacey will be a feature of the 2014 Oates Vic Open TV show when she’ll open her title defence campaign by skydiving onto the Thirteenth Beach course following the Pro-Am with the trophy alongside her. Fellow Victorian Jack Wilson will join Keating for the stunt.
Golf Victoria recently spoke with Stacey about her past year and the upcoming 2014 Oates Vic Open.
GV: What did it mean for a girl from Cressy, Victoria, with a population of 122 to win the Oates Vic Open?
SK: Obviously it was very exciting as I don’t think I ever play closer to home. And to have friends and family out watching was very special as it is very rare, even my Mum and Dad get to watch me play!
GV: The format has changed for this year’s Oates Vic Open. You will get to play the Beach course and the Creek course in the opening two rounds. What are your thoughts on this format change?
SK: Yeah I think it’s a great idea as not only do the girls have to prepare for two different courses, but now the boys have to do the same! It’s a great idea and great for the spectators.
GV: 2012 was a great year. You won back-to-back titles and were the leading Aussie in Europe. 2013 was a little different, no wins but some good results. Was it difficult to back up 2012? Were you satisfied with 2013?
SK: Yeah of course it was always going to be tough backing up that year but that’s the way golf goes, up and downs. But, I took a lot of positives for 2013, my Aussie summer was great and because of my 2012 I got to do a lot of extra travel, to Japan and to the USA where I qualified for the US Open which was all a great experience. I hope these extra things I was able to do will help me in the coming season.
GV: I understand that you are jumping out of an aeroplane with the women’s Oates Vic Open trophy. How did that come about?
SK: Haha, yes I am and I can’t wait!! Well last year they tried to organise it and I really wanted to do it, so I have tried to keep harping on it and finally I think it’s going to happen!
GV: Is there anything that you want to say to the fans before you get on the course for this year’s Oates Vic Open?
SK: Well clearly I’m already looking forward to coming back there, and I really hope there are as many, if not more people out there on the weekend to support us, especially us girls!
Matthew Giles had a great run of form in the lead up to his win at the 2013 Vic Open, having finished 5th at the Lexus of Blackburn Heritage Classic and then 13th at the Coca-Cola Queensland PGA Championship. This past season the player from New South Wales put together two solid performances that saw him finish inside the top 30 at the NZ PGA Championship and inside the top 35 at the Talisker Australian Masters.
In a recent telephone interview with Golf Victoria, Giles had the following to say.
GV: Was there a highlight to your past season aside from winning the 2013 Vic Open?
MG: The Vic Open win was the highlight. I had a good start to the calendar year last year but after February things didn’t go so well. The Vic Open was my first win in Australia and it was very special.
GV: You finished in the top 35 at the Talisker Australian Masters, what can you take from that experience that will help you defend your title at the 2014 Oates Vic Open?
MG: What helps me the most is playing. I am looking forward to the stretch of events coming up. Having not played well towards the end of last year, it was good to have time away and get back into some practice. I am hoping to repeat at the 2014 Oates Vic Open. There is a great stretch of four events upcoming, with the Oates Vic open being third. I will use these upcoming events to prepare. I find I play better after playing some events. Tournament golf really helps my game.
GV: What are your thoughts on playing both the Creek and the Beach course in the first two rounds of the 2014 Oates Vic Open?
MG: It is going to be different to last year. To be honest I haven’t had a chance to look at the format. Last year was great. The ladies played on the Creek and then after the cut joined us on the Beach. It was great to have Stacey playing with us being a local player. She brought out some great crowds. It was a very unique atmosphere having the women playing at the same time as the men. Fingers crossed it will have the same atmosphere as last year.
GV: What was the best shot you hit in the final round at last year’s Vic open?
MG: I hit a great tee shot into the par 3 on 12. I hit it to 6 feet and made a birdie. I wasn’t quite sure as to where I was on the leader board but I knew I was right on the mark. I remember I birdied 10, 11 and then 12. That gave me a bunch of momentum going forwards. I played a solid front nine and was fortunate enough to play a great back nine. That tee shot on 12 really kick started my golf towards the end of the round.
Keep checking this website for the latest news and tournament updates.