12 Mar 2013
Stacey Keating capped a terrific summer with her Victorian Open win.
After Queensland, our next stop was Christchurch, New Zealand. I love it here.
Even after the earthquake there has literally ripped down the majority of the city, I still love the place and the people!
We played at Clearwater GC. It was in great shape. I shot +1 on the first day in some tough conditions after being well over par early so I was very pleased with the start, but I knew I would have to do some work if I was going to be anywhere on the weekend.
In the second round I played very solid shooting -4 and the final I got off to a great start being -4 after 9 holes to be only a few back of the lead. I could only manage -1 on the back to finish in 3rd place, two behind New Zealand teenage sensation Lydia Ko!
Overall I was very happy with my week and lots of confidence to take into the Women's Australian Open.
Onto Royal Canberra for The Australian Open! I have played the Canberra Classic here the past few years and I love the place! I started the first round well, yet finished very poorly to sign for +1.
Sometimes in an Australian Open I would feel that was ok but not when the leader shot -10!
In the second round I knew I would have to shoot under par to have any chance of playing on the weekend. So when I was +1 through 9 I had some work to do. Then I had 3 birdies in the next 8 holes to make the cut on the number!
Sometimes doing things like that (having birdies when required) gives me a lot more satisfaction than shooting 66!
I was pleased with my weekend play, shooting -2, -3 to finish T28th. I know I would have like to finish higher, but I will take a lot from this.
Now onto the Victorian Open.
As close as I will ever get to playing at home and a great event, with both men and women playing at the same complex at 13th Beach.
The girls played 2 rounds on the Creek and then after the cut, joined the boys on the Beach course. I started off steady with -3. Then the next day, I got a little move on, shooting -6 to be only 1 behind the leaders going into the weekend.
Now we had to move our attention to The Beach Course.
I was very pleased with my ‘moving day’ play.. another -6 giving me a 4 shot lead going into the final round. I have never had the lead going into the final day, so this was all going to new pressures for me.
On Sunday I didn’t get off to the greatest of starts, not playing poorly, but just didn’t hole a thing for the first 8 holes, yet a eagle on the 9th kick-started me I felt!
Then a long putt on 11th got me back to a tie of the lead. But the biggest, luckiest break came on the par 3 12th. My ball ran through the green, up a slope, yet hit a ladies umbrella and rolled back down to 6 feet from the pin!! I thought at this point, “maybe it is my day” and I proceeded to roll this putt in for birdie and of course gave my best friend in the crowd my ball!
From here I birdied the 14th to have a 3 shot lead with 4 to play. I played solid coming in and teed off 18 with a three shot lead. It's a very nice feeling, yet never convinced I was going to win until I had a 2 inch putt for victory!
I couldn’t be happier with this win - the fact there were so many family and friends from home that had come out to watch just made it so much more exciting!
So now the Australian summer has come to an end, and I couldn’t be more pleased, winning the Australian Order of Merit, taking out the Club Car series, and winning at home, doesn't get much better!
As I write this I'm on my way to China to play the World Ladies Championship at Mission Hills. If this event is anything like last year, I’m very excited! They sure know how to put on a good show in China!
(Footnote: Keating finished in a tie for 30th at Mission Hills)
Stacey Keating is a former National Squad member, the current Victorian Open champion, two-time Ladies European Tour winner and current member of Golf Australia's Rookie Professional Program. This blog can also be found at his website www.staceykeating.com.au . Follow her on Twitter @staceykeats