Oates Vic Open off to blistering start

Cheyenne Woods

 

American talents Beth Allen and Cheyenne Woods stand proudly atop of the Oates Vic Open women’s leaderboard following a strong opening round.

Allen, who famously held off Leona Maguire in the 2015 ISPS Handa Ladies European Masters, holds the lead with six-under-par thanks to back to back birdies.

“I only arrived yesterday morning so I didn’t have tonnes of expectations which were good, I kind of just woke up and said let’s see what happens,” Allen said.

“I’m happy with my score so I’ll just have to see what everyone else does.”

“I’ll have a pretty good chance if I keep playing like this and scores can be very low down here so I’m going to do my best to be the one who captures it.”

Allen became a household name in 2016 having won both the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open and the Open de France Dames.

However she admits there’s something special when experiencing the unique Oates Vic Open tournament.

“I hope that this event inspires other events, the Australians all know each other and it was awesome to watch some of the guys take their shots ahead of us.

“I suppose it takes a special venue to make this happen, I know in Morocco we play at the same time on different courses but here it is perfect and a fair test.

“It’s great to be back here and it’s a special place Australia because I have a few friends around”

Allen may become the fourth straight International to take out the title after Marianne Skarpnord (Norway), Georgia Hall and Mel Reid (England) while Joanna Klatten (France) was victorious in 2012.

Nevertheless she must first extend her lead on current runner up Cheyenne Woods, the niece of golf legend Tiger.

 

 

“I’m happy with how I played today, I hit the ball well which helped a lot and my caddy walked both courses beforehand so the preparation was evident,” Woods explained.

“I’ve had a lot of golf under my belt this week and I look forward to playing the beach course tomorrow.

“Staying level headed was key; I just tried the best to enjoy the day.

“Tomorrow you’ll have to stay patient with the wind on the golf course but at the same time you still need to enjoy it.”

Swede Camilla Lennarth was first off the tee this morning; she finished four strokes under par while Tahnia Ravnjak is the leading Australian thus far.

“If someone told me this morning, you’d be four under then I’d have said yes to that immediately,” Lennarth laughed.

“This is my second year and I can’t believe they (good friends Marianne Skarpnord and Richard Green) didn’t ask me to come here earlier, I love it.

“The beach course is a bit tougher than the creek but as long as it (the wind) blows in the right direction the course will be good.”

She continued, “You’ll have to stay back when you have to because there are some tricky bunkers and some run offs that you really have to be in

“Tomorrow’s a new day, a new 18 hole challenge; that’s what I have to keep telling myself.

“Even though it rained I was quite lucky with the weather, it was easier to control than the wind which picked up later in the morning.”

Meanwhile in the men’s tournament local hero David Bransdon is tied with James Anstiss (New Zealand) both eight-under-par.

Bransdon commenced his tournament alongside fellow Victorian David McKenzie and recorded four consecutive birdies before a building crowd on the creek course.

 

 

“Maybe I could ask the organiser if we can play three rounds on the creek course,” Bransdon laughed.

“I seemed to hole putts on the course which was good and the wind conditions were also good until the last five holes.”

The 44 year old, who won the 2010 WA PGA Championship, admits his study of Jason Day; a former world number 14 years his junior, played the catalyst for his short game.

“If you have 36 putts then you’re never going to be eight-under,” Bransdon declared.

“It’s a pretty easy task for me; if I hold putts then I genuinely hold score.

“My big thing is stable, knees and hips; I’ve constantly looked at the Jason Day videos where the base is stable, nothing moves and putting stroke is genuinely good.”

Bransdon admits he’s weary of tomorrow’s round on the beach course, an environment his midday co-leader cherishes.

“I’m just going to go out there, play the beach which will have a lot of wind which I love so I’ll be focused on my own game,” Anstiss said.

The 22-year-old has impressed onlookers this morning, rejuvenated from a five year stint between the University of New Zealand and South East Louisiana.

“How can you not love this (tournament)?” he asked.

“You get exposed a little bit in amateur golf but nowhere near as much as this.”

And the tournament’s reigning champion Dimitrios Papadatos has also capped off his opening day with three late birdies to finish five under par on the beach course.

 

 

“I’m very happy with the start, the creek course will be a bit tricky tomorrow afternoon but it’s pretty gettable if you hold your putts,” Papadatos explained.

Last year Papadatos held off Adam Bland by two strokes before capturing another win at the Western Australia PGA Championship in May.

“The guy on the first tee asked if I was nervous but I find it more relaxing when you’ve won a tournament,” he added.

“It would be nice to defend it but everyone starts off on the same score at the start of the tournament.

“Last year I learnt that I could do it, I played well at the start of the year and then dropped off so in 2018 I’m going to try and schedule a little bit better.”

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