Spectators are lined up to see Su Oh at the 2019 ISPS Handa Vic Open.
Years ago, when the model of the Victorian Open brought out famous players like Johnny Miller, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Ben Crenshaw, Curtis Strange and Lee Trevino, it became a failed crusade to get one of them over the line
Miller lost to Geoff Parslow, the local club pro of Yarra Yarra. Palmer was defeated by a four-time champion Guy Wolstenholme and Rodger Davis turned the player over to Kingston Heath.
Whether they knew about lost, actually did not matter. Their presence was enough to attract the attention of the press and the public and to give the tournament a respect. Playing Greg Norman every year did not hurt either.
On 13th Beach this week the Canadian star Brooke Henderson called himself sick on Monday. Karrie Webb played a brilliant round on Friday and then it followed a depressing 82 to miss the last cut of the day. Minjee Lee was only one shot too much to see an action on Sunday.
Geoff Ogilvy, like Webb a US Open champion, made the cut, but wrenched his way to a final day 76 and eventually defeated only one player home.
It was his first tournament in months and in the next few weeks he ventures to Perth and New Zealand in an attempt to bring his drive back to life to become one of the better players in the game
None of these influenced the crowd who attended to run the fairways (some delicious with perfectly behaved dogs) and enjoy two tight matches.
The Aberdeen man, David Law beat a perfect hybrid club in the last green and holed of ten feet for an eagle then from the rest of the scorers tent heard word filtering back from leader Wade Ormsby making a complete mess of the difficult par three 17th.
Missing a green with a long club is not a crime but taking two chips was one of the highest and a birdie at the last would never make up for the double bogey on the 17th.
As a five-year veteran of the secondary tour in Europe, Law finds his travel life a bit upward but in a good way. If you asked him if he would rather have the money or the exemption, he would probably have the certainty of knowing where he plays every week. Either way, winning is a career-changing experience.
The French Celine Boutier won the ladies open thanks to two beautiful putts on the 15th and 17th greens. Sarah Kemp was in the club house at 283 before the leaders stopped and at some point it seemed like it might have been good enough for at least one playoff.
Su Oh, the local hope, made a miserable fist from the first hour and dropped four shots by the time she reached the 5th tee.
The moment they reached the almost drivable 15th hole, she hit the opening to two and Boutier flew twenty-five feet awkwardly. Oh, now with a chance, the hole hit with a perfect eagle chip and seemed to go to the 16th tee that was behind it. Instead, Boutier beat a great putt to ward off the Victorian.
The 17th is a brutal hole and Oh hit a handsome three iron but it slid down the slope all the way to the front of the green. Boutier missed the green to ten feet and faltered. Oh missed eight feet for a three and the last hole was nothing but a formality for the leader. Oh in the end made a birdie to tie second with Kemp and Charlotte Thomas of England.
This is not an event that depends on a number of big stars because of its legitimacy.
Word will spread how much fun the players have, how good the courses are and that it is much more than the normal week-to-week diet of golf tour. The Europeans who traveled to Saudi Arabia last week could not have found two contrasting experiences.
Some have suggested that the women's course is too long and should be set up so that the women hit the same clubs to the greens as the men. Given the individual events, I am not sure why that is necessary. The real problem is that the women do not hit the same clubs as the men, but that the men hit the same clubs as the women.