Date: December 19, 2012

Stacey Keating eyes Vic Open win after breakthrough 2012

For country Victorian Stacey Keating, 2012 will forever be known as the year she introduced herself to the golfing world stage. In 2013, the talented 26 year old will look to build on two Ladies European Tour professional wins when she tees it up at the Victorian Open from February 21-24, being played at Thirteenth Beach Golf Links for the very first time.

Keating turned professional at the start of 2010 and was ranked the number one female amateur in Australia. Victories included the Australian Amateur Championship, Victorian, Western Australian and Tasmanian Stroke Play Championships which culminated in being crowned the Webb Series Champion. In 2011, the Keating joined the Ladies European Tour (LET) recording five top 10 finishes to finish third on the Rolex Rookie of the Year standings.

Most players may never achieve a career victory on a world tour whilst others have to wait years and years. Keating had other ideas this year, setting herself a goal of winning twice on the LET tour. After a gut-wrenching moment at the British Women’s Open in September where she was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard, Keating was left flat and for the first time, feeling unenthusiastic about the game. Playing in arguably her biggest event where she had made the cut and led at one point, Keating’s emotional high was flipped on its head in a matter of seconds when told she wouldn’t be playing in the final two rounds.

Whilst left bitterly disappointed, Keating bounced back in remarkable fashion just one week later as she captured her first career professional win at the Spanish Open in a playoff. Her next start was at the French Open and the same result followed, having beaten out Italian Diana Luna for her second consecutive win.

“I felt like I had been playing well at the end of last year, contending a few times, yet not closing it out. I didn’t have the best Aussie summer but when I went back to Europe I started playing well, knocking on the door a few times and then finally getting my first win! My coach was over about one month prior and had done some great work which I think helped a lot. I guess I was very confident after my first win which helped to get the second. Not being in the final group in France was different as I had to wait at the end which felt like forever,” said Keating.

With her back-to-back victories came instant stardom and it was only a day after her ground breaking second win that Keating found herself on the front page of The Age newspaper on Tuesday 9 October amidst her name being plastered around media outlets everywhere.

Keating spoke about her front page lead, “Yeah that was kind of nice. I think my grandparents bought out every paper in the western district, and the ones they didn’t buy they got given. It was great, and great for women’s golf.”

For the short term, Keating will now turn her focus to the Australian summer swing of golf on the ALPG Tour which will include a highly anticipated appearance at the Vic Open. Left a little disappointed having tied for 27th in the tournament’s first year being played as a concurrent men’s and women’s event, the now two-time LET winner is keen on making amends in 2013 at Thirteenth Beach. 

“I think it will be great. I have played down there quite a lot, and my grandparents have a holiday house nearby so it will be a lot of fun I think. I’ve played both courses at Thirteenth a little, mostly on the Beach course but I love them both. I am so excited to play my own State Open.”

The 2013 Vic Open will again adopt the unique format whereby the male and female fields will play on the same course (Beach) in rounds three and four simultaneously. Prior to the cut, rounds one and two will see the women compete on the Creek Course and the men on the Beach Course.

Keating spoke about the format and its uniqueness to world professional golf, “I love the new concept. It’s how tennis started off and now you don’t see major events without both men and women together. I think it’s great for everyone, especially for spectators as they get to watch people they wouldn’t usually see play and vice-versa. I hope it continues, and other states adopt the new concept. I think it can make our game more popular.”

Asked what she is looking forward to most when the Vic Open commences in February, Keating responded, “Playing in my own state with a lot of family and friends around which will make for a fun week. And, playing for the same prize money as the men of course!”

By: Greg Oakford (Golf Victoria)