Melbourne prodigy Su Oh, has won the RACV Ladies Masters – just her second full event as a professional.
Oh, 18, made four successive birdies to close her final round, firing a four-under-par 69 to finish at seven under and win the co-sanctioned ALPG and LET event by three strokes.
A former Victorian State team member and current Golf Australia rookie squad member was in a logjam on a rapidly changing leaderboard for most of the afternoon at Royal Pines on the Gold Coast.
But Oh, calling on the experience that took her to the world No.1 amateur status last year, played some spectacular approach shots to rocket away in the closing half-hour.
Queenslander Katherine Kirk shared second with English pair Charley Hull and Florentyna Parker, while outstanding Gold Coast amateur Becky Kay, 16, finished leading amateur and tied for sixth at two under after a closing birdie playing in just her second professional event.
But the day belonged to Oh, who was tied for second in last week’s Oates Victorian Open (her first event as a pro after also playing in the LPGA Tour Q-school in December) and now leads the ALPG money list comfortably.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” the effervescent Oh said after her victory.
“I didn’t really feel (the pressure) when I was playing, but when I was on the last green, it was a rush of relief and weird emotions – I’ve never felt it before.”
Asked about her amazing finish, Oh didn’t even realise she’d peeled off four birdies after a bogey on the 14th left her one adrift of previous champion Kirk.
“I did, too. I didn’t know that. I bogeyed the par three and knew I had to get some back,” she said.
“The only board I saw was on the 17th, and I thought, ‘Let’s just hole this one to make sure’.”
Oh made a regulation birdie on the par-five 15th, then hit spectacular approaches and putts on the next two holes, including her iron to the par-four 17th hitting the flag before the ball rolled to 3m.
She then made sure of the title, even from the second last group, by rifling a long second shot to the par-five closing hole and cosying her eagle attempt to within 10cm of the cup.
Oh immediately attributed her calmness under the pump – she finished second to Karrie Webb in this event as an amateur two years ago – to her experience before turning pro in December.
“I was one of the lucky ones to have the opportunity to play in this event three times (as an amateur). I played well my second one (2013), and to be able to travel the world and play, it definitely helped today.”
Oh will likely get exemptions to play on the LET Tour throughout the season and hinted she’ll mix and match with her schedule on the secondary American Symetra Tour.
“I wanted to go to LET Q-school, too, but the timing just didn’t match, but I’m really glad I’m going to have a full schedule now.”
By: Mark Hayes (Golf Australia)