12 Feb 2023 | Vic Open |
Shin rains on Porter's parade as steady Hendry closes out
by Australian Golf Media
Cassie Porter came to 13th Beach today with great expectations but was dealt a reality check by the game of golf, and Jiyai Shin is the Vic Open champion for 2023. On a great day for internationals, New Zealand's Mike Hendry ground his way to a win in the men's event. Australian Porter encountered a windy day – the first of the week at Barwon Heads – and it shook her game to the core in the concluding phase of the women's Open. Despite a two-shot lead at the start of the day, she could not match the relentless march of South Korea’s former world No. 1 Shin, who caught the Queenslander by the second hole, overtook her and ran away with a five-shot win.
It is 34-year-old Shin’s first win since 2021, which is an eternity for a player who has won more than 60 times around the world. “Finally, I won in Victoria, I’m so happy for this,” she said. “Finally I did. I have a good reason to come back.” The Korean, who plays mostly in Japan nowadays but who is a previous winner of two women’s majors, shot a steady, closing even-par 71 and always looked the winner today. Porter, by contrast, slumped to tied-fourth in shooting a closing 79, 7-over par, under the pressure of trying to go wire-to-wire against world class players. “It’s tough, it’s a hard pill to swallow, but you can’t do anything else but take the positives out of it,” she said. “On to the next, it’s just another day at work and everyone has hard days at work.” Shin said she sensed that the Australian was nervous, a feeling she was familiar with from her past. “I had the same thing, but sometimes the rookie makes a more impressive game,” she said. “In this wind, it changes a bit, I’m so glad to play with her for three days and I look forward to her playing in all of the world. The first two rounds, she was making everything. I was so surprised. She’s a rookie! Today I want her with this experience to learn something.” With Porter’s bogey at the last another Australian, Grace Kim, sneaked up into a share of second with her 1-under round. Pavarisa Yoktuan from Thailand also took a share of second although she never threatened to win. Hendry began the final round of the men's Open with a three-shot lead from Sydney's Justin Warren, and his victory was not in doubt once second-placed Warren made an early triple bogey. The Auckland professional shot even-par 72 and at 21-under, equalled the tournament scoring record set by Min Woo Lee in 2019.
“It’s been a while. The last time I won on the Aussie Tour was the 2017 New Zealand Open so it was nice to get across the line again,” Hendry said.
“It’s just nice to be feeling fit and proving to myself that I’ve still got it.” Victorian David Micheluzzi vaulted through the field with a closing 69 to finish outright second, four shots behind Hendry. Hervey Bay golfer Lachlan Wood easily won the Victorian Inclusive Championship with scores of 76-77 on the Creek course, nine shots ahead of New South Wales player Cameron Pollard. The Australian Wheelchair Championship was won by Port Kembla's Nick Taylor for the second year in a row.
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