Local favourite Stacey Keating capped off a tremendous summer by winning her State Open, the Women’s Victorian Open, which was played at the magnificent Thirteenth Beach Golf Links, Barwon Heads.
Keating’s goals at the start of the ALPG season included performing better at home than she had done in the past two years and putting herself in contention as much as possible. The talented golfer from Cressy certainly achieved both, she posted top 10 finishes in the Bing Lee Samsung Women’s NSW Open and the Volvik RACV Ladies Masters. She was then third in the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open and today’s win in front of many family and friends was the icing on the cake.
In front of huge galleries Keating fired a final round of three-under-par 71 to finish at 18-under-par total and two clear of England’s Hanna Burke (66) and Western Australian Kristie Smith (68).
The two-time winner on the Ladies European Tour in 2012 was thrilled with her first major victory on home soil.
“It means everything this win, it is the best” Keating said.
An eagle on the par 5 9th was a turning point for Keating “I was over par at that point and I had just missed a short putt on 8th, then the eagle got me from over par to under par , which made me feel better going into the back nine.”
Luck also played its part in her win, particularly on the par 3 12th when an errant tee shot hit a spectator and bounced back onto the green and finished six feet from the pin, she went on to convert the birdie putt.
Keating, who took a four shot lead into today’s final round, didn’t have it her own way at all. Early in her round she had relinquished her lead to unknown Spaniard Mireia Prat who was soaring up the leaderboard with a barrage of birdies and an eagle. The Spaniard was eight-under thru 11 holes, but two bogeys in five holes faulted her momentum.
There were a number of players that got within striking distance of Keating but the 26-year-old stayed patient and made crucial birdies on the 11th, 12th and 14th holes to go clear of the field.
Even with a three shot lead playing the last, she played it safe, rescue, rescue, wedge into the par five and she then took three putts to secure the victory.
Western Australian Kristie Smith had a chance to grab second spot on her own, but missed an opportunity on the 17th and then could only the par the last hole.
“I got off to a hot start but just hit a little bit of a wall coming in the back nine, I couldn’t get off the par train,” Smith said.
“I needed to make more birdies but it didn’t happen.
“(But) it was a nice finish to the ALPG season. I had a really solid, consistent couple of months and that’s what I was looking for coming into the season.
“So I’m very happy with my finish and am looking forward to going home.”
England's Hannah Burke had the best round of the final day, an eight under par 66 and said it was a nice way for her to round out her visit down under before she heads to China in a fortnight for the World Ladies Championship.
“I’m very pleased. It’s probably the best round I’ve shot ever, no bogeys, not a five on the card anywhere,” Burke said.
ACT’s Nikki Campbell (68) finished outright fourth at 15-under-par, with Prat and Queensland Bree Arthur (67) a further shot back. New South Wales Rebecca Artis (68) and England’s Laura Davies (68) finished tied for seventh at 13-under-par, while Western Australian Jessica Speechley (70) and South Australian Tamie Durdin (70) rounded out the top 10.