Victorian Stacey Keating will be looking to capture her home state title when she tees it up against a strong field in the 2013 Victorian Women’s Open being played at the Thirteenth Beach Golf Links, Barwon Heads on the Bellarine Peninsula.
For the second straight year, the Open will adopt the innovative format of playing both the men and women concurrently on the same course for the final two rounds. When the action tees off, Thursday, the women compete on the Creek Course for the opening two rounds whilst the men will battle it out on the Beach Course. When the fields are shortened for weekend action (men’s and women's fields cut to leading 50 and ties), the Beach Course will host both genders in a concept unique to world professional golf.
Keating, who grew up on a farm near Cressy, has been in superb form this summer. She started 2013 with a win in the Club Car Series, The Vintage Pro-am in the Hunter Valley. She then finished outright fifth at the Bing Lee/ Samsung Women’s NSW Open, sixth in the Volvik RACV Ladies Masters, outright third in the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open hosted by Christchurch and then tied 28th at last week’s ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.
The two-time winner on the Ladies European Tour is looking forward to playing in front of family and friends. “Clearly very excited that people from home can come and watch.. Professionally, it will be the closest I’ll ever come to playing at home!” said Keating.
“I guess with that comes extra pressure form yourself, but that's something I have to deal with”.
Keating has played both courses on a number of occasions, the talented Victorian nominated the greens as the key to scoring well. “Definitely around the greens, lots of undulations and different levels on the greens, so it is important to be on the right level and side of the pin if you can. Also, if the wind gets up can be very difficult to attack some pins”.
Keating is happy with how she has performed over the ALPG season but also realistic that she has played six weeks in a row. “Very pleased. It was a goal to contend in Aussie over the summer and I feel I'm doing that so would love to carry over that form into Vic open!”
“I would like to put a couple of nice rounds together to be contending on the weekend. Yet, I know I have played 6 straight weeks now so we’ll see how that goes!!”
Keating will have to be at her best with a very strong international contingent, along with fellow Australians in the field.
Leading the international contingent is England’s Laura Davies and Swede Sophie Gustafson. Davies is a winner of over 80 titles worldwide, while Gustafson is a multiple winner on the LPGA and LET tours. South African Lee-Anne Pace, France’s Anne-Lise Caudal, England’s Felicity Johnson, Norway’s Marianne Skarpnord have all won on the Ladies European Tour and are players to watch.
Of the local challengers, the likes of Kristie Smith, Nikki Campbell, Whitney Hillier, Karen Lunn, Emma De Groot, Sarah Kemp and Nikki Garrett are expected to feature.