Defending champion, Stacey Keating made a grand entrance today at the Oates Victorian Open being played at Thirteenth Beach, Barwon Heads.
Keating parachuted (tandem) from 10,000 feet and landed right next to the 18th green. It was the 27-year-old second time, but the first time in Australia. “It was unbelievable, the views were amazing over the beach, it was a real buzz. I would 100% do it again.”
The local Cressy resident is happy to be back at a place she has tasted success “I have nice memories from last year, I love it down here, I’m looking forward to the week.”
The two time winner on the Ladies European Tour has been a little inconsistent with her performances over the ALPG season but is happy with how she is playing at the moment, “I feel like I am hitting it well enough, I just need to the putts to drop.”
There will be a little extra pressure being the defending champion but she is trying not to think about it too much. She is focusing on all the good memories from last year.
Keating, who arrived in town yesterday, mentioned that the Creek Course looks great and the greens seem to be a little quicker and firmer, she hasn’t seen the Beach course yet this week. That will suit Keating who grew up playing the firm and fast Melbourne sandbelt greens.
Once again it is a high calibre field that has been assembled and defending her title won’t be easy. Some of her fellow Australians likely to be in contention come Sunday include: Lindsey Wright, Sarah Kemp, Jessica Speechley, Sarah Jane Smith, Kristie Smith and Nikki Campbell.
From an international perspective, one can never discount England’s Laura Davies, we also have multiple LPGA winners Canadian Lorie Kane and Swede Sophie Gustafson teeing it up as well. Another English player to keep an eye on is Trish Johnson, she has 21 titles on the LET and is coming off a great performance at last week’s ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, where she finished tied 15th.
France’s Joanna Klatten will be certainly one to watch, she has been one of the form players over the ALPG summer having won two of the Club Car Series Pro-ams, the Bing Lee Fujitsu Women’s NSW Open and is also a former winner of the Victorian Open (2012).
This tournament is unique in that the men’s Victorian Open is also being played at the same venue this week. Both the male and female competitors will both play one round on each the Creek and Beach courses before the Friday night cut. The final two rounds will played on Beach Course.
95 female professionals from 11 countries are teeing it up in the $150,000 which begins on Thursday.