09 Feb 2022 | Vic Open |
PREVIEW: St Andrews front of mind at 13th Beach
by Dane Heverin
The hugely popular Vic Open is back this week following it’s pandemic induced absence with an added incentive for the men that is dominating conversation around the 13th Beach clubhouse.
The top three men will gain entry into this year’s The Open at St Andrews - following the cancellation of the New Zealand Open the spots were allocated to this week’s tournament - and the prospect of heading to the home of golf has players buzzing.
“How sick is that? That’s awesome,” Australian PGA champion Jed Morgan said.
Straight after playing alongside England cricket legends Sir Ian Botham and John Emburey in the pro-am day, Morgan was not hiding his excitement at the prospect of a major debut.
“I think everyone has a bit of an extra spring in their step because of it,” he said.
“The cool opportunity with that is that there’s three of them and I don’t think anyone in this field has automatically qualified. No one has so everyone’s playing for them.
“I’ve played the amateur tournament there twice. It’s nothing like what The Open would be like but it’s sick.
“I’ve played the Old Course I think four or five times. It’s awesome. It’s pretty cool.
“I want to go back there and I want to play The Open.”
Major champion Geoff Ogilvy is well versed in what The Open is all about - he had a top-five finish in 2005 and a top-ten finish in 2010 - but his enthusiasm for playing in the majors has not waned.
“That’d be pretty nice. The Old Course is close to my favourite place in golf. The 150th there would be amazing,” he said.
“Hopefully I can play decently and have a chance. It’ll obviously be on a lot of guys' minds.”
Nowadays, Ogilvy is rarely focusing solely on himself as he is thrilled for what such an opportunity would mean for others.
“What a bonus for all these kids. There are some young really good players who have been grinding for a few weeks, and played a few events in a row. It’d be a real boon for these kids to get a start there,” he said.
“What a special place to play your first Open for most of them. The Old Course, 150th, it’d be pretty special.”
On the women’s side, the focus is on who will step up to take home the silverware as friends become rivals.
Major champion Hannah Green declared yesterday that she expects to win despite a three month layoff from competitive golf, but she will face stiff competition from fellow LPGA players Su Oh, Steph Kyriacou and Karis Davidson, along with rising star Grace Kim.
Best friends Green and Oh have got their wish of playing together after begging the LPGA to pair them up last year, while Kyriacou, Davidson and Kim form a fascinating grouping.
Kyriacou is becoming a custom to being one of the main draw cards at home tournaments and she is ready to take on that mantle again this week.
“The Vic Open is one of my favourite events,” she said.
“I was saying to the guys in the pro-am (Golf Australia CEO James Sutherland, PGA of Australia CEO Gavin Kirkman and BMW Australia CEO Wolfgang Buechel) before that it’s such a good atmosphere.
“It’s nice that people talk about me. The intent is good but I honestly don’t feel any different to a couple of years ago. It’s fun doing media because not every golfer gets to do it.”
How to follow:
How to watch: You’ll be able to catch all the action, broadcast live, on Foxtel and Kayo Sports. Times AEDT.
Round 1: Thursday 10 February, 1:30pm-5:30pm LIVE on Fox Sports 503
Round 2: Friday 11 February, 1:30pm-5:30pm LIVE on Fox Sports 503
Round 3: Saturday 12 February, 3pm-7pm LIVE on Fox Sports 503
Round 4: Sunday 13 February, 1:30pm-5:30pm LIVE on Fox Sports 503
How to attend: The Vic Open is being run as a covid-safe event. Fans are welcome to attend each day with entry free and parking available for $10. The full spectator guide is available here.
About the tournament: The Vic Open adopted its current format of men and women playing together in 2012 and the reigning champions are Min Woo Lee and Hee Young Park. The total prize money for the tournament is $410,000 for both the men’s and women’s.
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