When the sun rises over Thirteenth Beach Golf Links in Barwon Heads on Thursday morning, so too will some of the best names in both men’s and women’s golf. Jarrod Lyle headlines a star studded 2014 Oates Victorian Open field that is set to take on the layout at the magnificent Thirteenth Beach Golf links. The Torquay resident will no doubt be looking to set the pace, on the men’s side at Thirteenth, as he sets out to play his second tournament on his remarkable return to tournament golf.
The Victorian made his return after 18 months on the sidelines at the Australian Masters at Royal Melbourne last December, making the cut in a herculean effort, having shed tears on the first tee on the opening day. "I went there to try and play golf,” Lyle said today. "I told all my friends to come Thursday or Friday so they could at least watch me play two days. It’s pretty hard to play with tears in your eyes but I exceeded all my expectations. I was happy to get around three days and crawl around the fourth day.”
As for the 2014 Oates Vic Open Women’s field, local pro Stacey Keating returns to defend her championship along with 2012 champion Joanna Klatten. The defending champion, who’s win last year in front of family and friends was so emotional. "I have nice memories here so that always helps, I guess,” Keating said.
Both of these young golfing talents have had a noteworthy run of results since lifting the Victorian Open Women’s Championship. With Lyle and Keating as the headliners and with Klatten proving that this is a tournament that truly matters to top international professionals, the 2014 Oates Vic Open provides the perfect setting to witness a spectacular finish on Sunday afternoon.
Looking to the men’s field that will tee it up on both the Beach and Creek courses on Thursday, several former Victorian Open champions return to this year’s tournament seeking to add a second championship to their trophy case, much like returning two time champion Stephen Leaney did in 1997, having won the men’s Victorian Open previously in 1995. Last year’s winner Matthew Giles along with fellow Aussies Scott Arnold (2012), Paul Sheehan (2011), Jason Norris (2010), Kim Felton (2007), Scott Laycock (2001), Bradley Lamb (2000) and Leaney (1995, 1997) join New Zealander Gareth Paddison (2004) as the only players in the field who have lifted the men’s Victorian Open trophy.
In fact, Paddison is not only a former winner but also one of the premier international players who will grace Thirteenth Beach with his presence this upcoming week. The proud Kiwi began the 2014 season in style with a win at the Victorian PGA Championship. Keeping with the international theme, Paddison’s countryman Ryan Fox comes into the 2014 Oates Vic Open on a high having achieved a runner-up finish at the Queensland PGA.
Finally, a top international and a man who’s name will become popular with Aussie golf fans is Jin Jeong.
Melbourne-based Professional Jeong will this week play his first 2014 PGA Tour of Australasia tournament with one of golf’s most prized possessions in his pocket – a spot in the 2014 British Open Championship. Jeong secured his start at Royal Liverpool last week courtesy of a second place finish in the European Tour’s Joburg Open. Understandably confident with his game Jeong said he’s looking forward to competing back in Australia this week, before he returns to Europe to continue his rookie season. “This course suits me well, but it really depends on weather. It can get very windy here – maybe it’s great practice for the British Open.” Jeong laughed. Jeong will return to The Open in July this year for the first time since 2010 when he earned the Silver Medal as the leading amateur.
International players are a big feature of the women’s field in this year’s Oates Vic Open. Joanna Klatten is the most recent winner, amidst a list of big international names who will take to the course on Thursday morning. Klatten of France comes into the tournament on the back of a huge win at the NSW Women’s Open in January. Three other prominent names in women’s golf who head the international contingent are Laura
Davies, Sophie Gustafson and Lori Kane. Davies who hails from Coventry, England, has for the last 2 years made the Oates Vic Open stop on the ALPG Tour a priority. She is a former world number one and multiple major winner. She holds both an LPGA card and a Ladies European Tour card. Sophie Gustafson of Sweden is a five time winner on the LPGA tour and has finished at the top of the Ladies European Order of Merit list.
Throughout her career she has played all over the world and aside from her LPGA Tour wins she has 23 international wins with one of those wins coming on Australian soil, the 2001 AAMI Women’s Australian Open. Lori Kane rounds out this group of exciting international golfing talents. The pride of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island in Canada is a long way from home but is still recognised and well respected by both her fellow players and the Australian golf fans. Kane is a 4 time winner on the LPGA Tour. In 2006 she was presented with the order of Canada which is the nation’s highest honour.
Notable tee times
Round 1 Tee Times
7.50am: Matthew Giles, Scott Arnold, Jason Norris
8.10am: Kieran Pratt, Bryden Macpherson, Scott Strange
12.00pm: Jin Jeong, Ben Eccles (am), Jack Wilson
12.20pm: Nathan Holman, Geoff Drakeford (am), Gareth Paddison
7.30am: Jason Scrivener, Nick Cullen, Matthew Griffin
7.50am: Jarrod Lyle, Ryan Ruffels (am), Richard Green
8.10am: Daniel Popovic, Michael Sim, Jake Higginbottom
12.20pm: Peter O’Malley, Paul Sheehan, Steve Conran
Round 1 Tee Times
7.40am: Jaqueline Hedwall, Corie Hou, Grace Daniell
12.10pm: Trish Johnson, Lori Kane, Hannah Green (am)
7.40am: Laura Davies, Rebecca Artis, Su Oh (am)
8.00am: Lindsey Wright, Stacey Keating, Minjee Lee
8.20am: Kristie Smith, Marianne Skarpnord, Shelley Shin (am)
12.10pm: Sarah Kemp, Joanna Klatten, Grace Lennon (am)