Date: July 31, 2019
Author: Martin Blake

13th Beach honors Vic Open winners


Thirteenth Beach has handed out honorary memberships to players who won ISPS Handa Vic Opens at the superb Bellarine Peninsula links.

Host of the Vic Open since 2013, the club made the offer recently to all the players who have won the tournament since that year. The memberships are valid so long as the Open is held at 13th Beach. 

Victorian Matt Griffin, who won the Open in 2014, said he received the notification by email a few weeks ago.

A six-time winner in Asia and Australia who more recently has played most of his golf on the Japanese tour, Griffin said the “special memories” from 13th Beach would stay with him forever.

 “It’s always good to go back to a place where you’ve won in the past, especially when it’s close and you just drive down the highway,’’ said Griffin.

“I remember (in 2014) that I had my now wife and my parents down there. At that stage the Vic Open was only worth about $120,000, so financially it wasn’t as significant, but when I look back at the end of my career it’ll probably be up there in the top few. It’s sentimental.

“I remember having the trophy for 12 months and it was nice going over and looking at the trophy and looking at the great names on it, really.”

Two past winners, Richard Green and Marianne Skarpnord who are partners, actually live at 13th Beach.

The club's general manager Craig Skimming said 13th Beach wanted to acknowledge the amazing growth of the event as well as its winners. "We've had an overwhelmingly positive response,'' he said. "Clearly some of them are going to use it, and others won't, but that's not the point. It's about the gesture."

Frenchwoman Celine Boutier and Scotland's David Law won the Open in 2019.

The 2020 ISPS Handa Vic Open, part of the European Tour for men and the LPGA Tour for women, is expected to be held in February next year.