On a blustery afternoon in Barwon Heads which saw winds gusts of up to 55kph, England's Melissa Reid took out the 2017 Oates Vic Open title at 13th Beach Links in a thrilling finish this afternoon, defeating her Solheim Cup teammate Germany's Sandra Gal in a playoff on the third extra hole.
Gal failed to go up-and-down from behind the green on 13th Beach’s closing Beach Course hole, and Reid calmy hole out from just over a metre for her sixth Ladies European Tour title.
Reid tragically lost her mother in a car accident in mid-2012 during teh Ladies German Open, the 29-year-old revealing after she collected her silverware that she’d had a feeling her trip to Barwon Heads would be a special one.
“I don’t know, I had a good feeling about this week, there’s just been a few things,” said Reid.
“I didn’t wanna mention to anyone at the start of the week, but it was my Mum’s birthday this week on Tuesday so I just thought that something good had to happen.
“Then we were warming up on the putting green and my Mum’s favourite film was dirty dancing and they were playing the theme.
“I just said to Benji my caddie, ‘I’ve got a feeling, I’ve just got a feeling about this week mate, it’s fate’.”
Runner-up Gal was in the day’s penultimate pairing, leading the charge for most of the afternoon with Reid, local hope Su Oh and American Angel Yin threatening to draw level.
Reid led by two overnight but got off to a nightmare start, plummeting to 3-over through four holes - the lowlight being a double-bogey at the par-5 7th.
Meanwhile Gal was all class, her fifth birdie of the day coming at the par-3 17th which took her one stroke clear of Reid who still had four holes to play.
After picking up a stroke on the par-5 14th Reid responded immediately, her third birdie of the round coming at the 16th to draw scores level.
She had a chance to end proceedings in regulation time after she settled just short of the green for two.
Her long putt up the false front slid by the pin, Reid leaving herself too much work to do down the hill and handing Gal a lifeline.
On the first playoff hole Reid miscalculated again, her long putt onto the green from a similar position this time coming up well short.
Gal failed to make her pay by missing a birdie try of her own, the second playoff hole following a similar narrative as Gal again failed to get her birdie putt to drop.
It was Gal who blinked first after nearly six hours since walking off the first teebox, a wayward drive forcing her to punch her way up the fairway as Reid launched at the green with another 3-wood.
Gal’s approach sailed long and left, and despite nearly holing her chip shot, she failed to save par and prolong proceedings.
"I just didn’t start it right enough and then obviously rode the wind and went a little long,” Gal said after the loss.
“And then the chip just got a little firm bounce, it was a little unfortunate.
“It’s been a long day and I've had to focus all day long quite hard so it was quite tough to keep every shot high quality.”
Reid didn’t share those thoughts after the trophy ceremony, revealing she was ready for as much golf as it would take in order to earn the winner’s cheque of $75,000.
“I’d say I’m relatively fit and I could just keep going and going and going,” said Reid.
“I wouldn’t have minded how many holes we played, I felt pretty fresh to be quite honest.”
One thing the duo did agree on was the taxing weather, Reid prepared to consider Sunday’s final round one of the toughest of her career.
“It was honestly brutal out there, it was one of the toughest winds I’ve ever had,”
“Just a true test of golf, it brought a lot of character out there today.
“I remember back to Turnberry, it was one of the best rounds I’ve ever shot… when the British Open was there.
It really was a brutal test and fair play to Sandra, what’d she shoot today, 4-under? That’s an incredible round of golf.”
World Number 79 Gal echoed those thoughts and was already trying to take the positives despite the disappointing finish.
“It just played really, really tough today and I shot a great round to get myself in the playoff so I think I can be proud of myself for playing well,” said Gal.
“At time I felt like I was at at a British Open today.
“We get that about once a year so its definitely great practice.”
Victorian Su Oh was the leading Australian finishing in a tied for third place with American youngster Angel Yin, while Hannah Green and Whitney Hillier both had solid weeks finishing in a tie for 6th place. New South Welshman Dimi Papadatos took out the men's Oates Vic Open title defeating Jake McLeod and Adam Bland by two shots.
The ALPG Tour now heads to Adelaide for the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open to be held at Royal Adelaide Golf Club from 16-19th February
Final results and prizemoney
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