Thirteenth Beach Golf Links will be turned into a battlefield of skill and experience as 11 past champions return to compete for the 2016 Oates Vic Open titles.
An unprecedented level of competition is expected with fields totalling up to 132 men and 144 women including Australian golfing icon Karrie Webb.
Seeking a second title is 2014 men’s champion Matt Griffin who knows what it takes to win under pressure. His Oates Vic Open victory came as a result of a three-hole playoff with New South Welshman Matt Stieger. After the pair finished tied at 7-under par, Griffin endured the playoff with poise and eventually won with a birdie on the 75th hole.
Stacey Keating solidified herself as a home-grown hero when she secured the women’s title in 2013. The Cressy local carded a two-shot victory after four sub-par rounds of 71, 68, 68 and 71 to finish 18 under the card. A proven performer on the ALPG Tour, Keating will return with determination to become the first woman in history to record multiple Oates Vic Open victories.
While in 2012, New South Welshman Scott Arnold proved that consistent golf can win tournaments when he was crowned the men’s champion at Spring Valley GC. While there were no eagles on any of his score cards, there were no double bogeys either, earning Arnold a one-shot victory.
Joining Griffin, Keating and Arnold are Matthew Giles (2013), Jason Norris (2010), Ashley Hall (2007), Gareth Paddison (2004), Brad Lamb (2000), two-time champion Stephen Leaney (1995 and 1997) and defending champions Richard Green and Marianne Skarpnord.
Victorian Minister for Sport, John Eren said local golfers would be looking to hold off challengers from interstate and overseas.
“Williamstown’s Richard Green took the title last year, edging out Nick Cullen from South Australia,” Eren said.
“Also last year, adopted Victorian Marianne Skarpnord took out the women’s title at the course she now calls home so this year I’d like to see another Victorian keep the spoils on home soil.
“The Victorian Government is proud to support the 2016 Oates Vic Open, particularly because of their support for women’s participation, offering equal prize money and equal access, and showcasing the terrific facilities we have for golfers and visitors in regional Victoria.”
City of Greater Geelong Mayor Darryn Lyons is looking forward to having Australian elite golfing champions compete in Geelong.
“The Oates Vic Open is going to bring Australian golfing legends to one of Geelong’s premier golf courses, Thirteenth Beach Golf Links in Barwon Heads,” said Mayor Lyons.
“Geelong continues to be a sporting capital, home to the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and The Festival of Sails.
“I hope visitors enjoy the competition, and take time to explore the beautiful region.”
The Oates Vic Open is a sanctioned event on the PGA Tour of Australasia and ALPG Tour.
The event will be played 4-7 February at Thirteenth Beach Golf Links. Live streaming of the final two rounds on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 February will be available on screens throughout the venue and at www.golfvic.org.au/oatesvicopenLIVE.
Visit www.golfvic.org.au/vicopen for more information.