Date: November 12, 2014
Author: Martin Blake /

13th Beach secures Vic Open long-term

State Government has matched the Opposition's commitment to the Oates Vic Open, meaning that the burgeoning event will remain at 13th Beach on the Bellarine Peninsula at least until the end of 2018.

The Victorian Sports Minister, Damian Drum, made the commitment at the launch of the tournament in Geelong today.

The Government, which goes to an election in just more than a week, will inject $1.4 million into the tournament over 2015-2018 if it is reelected. Daniel Andrews' State Opposition announced a similar pledge a few weeks ago.

The VicOpen, part of the Australasian PGA Tour and unique in that it allows men and women to play in alternate groups, is scheduled for 5-8 February, 2015, at 13th Beach.

In its third year on the Surf Coast, it has been a raging success, with big crowds on hand to see Matthew Griffin win the men's tournament and Minjee Lee the women's event this year.

The tournament sponsor, Oates, also has extended its arrangement.

"One of the things we were really proud of is the number of people who came through the doors,'' said Simon Brookhouse, chief executive of Golf Victoria, which owns the tournament. "We had 20,000 people for the week and over 7100 on the last day, which compared to other tournaments around the world is a significant number.

"That's partly because the tournament is such an enjoyable time, you can walk on the fairways, you can be close to the players and the fact the men and women play together is actually what signifies the Vic Open.''

Brookhouse said a collaborative approach between GV, the Tour and the Bellarine Peninsula community had made the VicOpen "the best event of its type in the country. I have no doubt it is.''