Talent to burn at Oates Vic Open

One of Australia’s most popular and innovative tournaments – the Oates Victorian Open – will enjoy an unprecedented level of interest when the dual events tee off at the 13th Beach Golf Links this week.

Both the men’s and women’s Opens will again be staged in conjunction, offering fans a unique viewing experience over the course of the week.

Richard Green Richard Green with the 2015 Victorian Open trophy (Credit: PGA Australia)

11 past champions will return to contest the Oates Vic Open titles but attracting most interest is the debut 13th Beach appearance of Australia’s Hall of Famer and seven-time major champion Karrie Webb.

Webb has chosen 13th Beach to kick off her season and local preparations for the Women’s Australian Open, to be held at The Grange Golf Club in a fortnight.

Defending champions are the home grown and ‘adopted Victorian’ couple of Richard Green and Norwegian Marianne Skarpnord, who captured their respective titles last year at the course they call home.

s champion Matt Griffin, is in the field alongside former champions Matthew Giles (2013), Scott Arnold (2012), Jason Norris (2010), Ashley Hall (2007), Gareth Paddison (2004), Brad Lamb (2000) and two-time champion Stephen Leaney (1995 & 1997).

Other headliners in the men’s draw include Nick Cullen, Dimi Papadatos, Adam Bland, Jordan Zunic, Aron Price, Matthew Millar and Michael Sim.

On the women’s side, Victorian Stacey Keating (2013) returns as a past champion to challenge Webb, Skarpnord and a host of Ladies European Tour and ALPG players including Dame Laura Davies, Su Oh, Rebecca Artis, Amy Boulden, Beth Allen and Diana Luna.

Victorian Minister for Sport, John Eren said local golfers would be looking to hold off challengers from interstate and overseas.

“Williamstown’s Richard Green took the title last year, edging out Nick Cullen from South Australia,” Eren said. “Also last year, adopted Victorian Marianne Skarpnord took out the women’s title at the course she now calls home so this year I’d like to see another Victorian keep the spoils on home soil.

“The Victorian Government is proud to support the 2016 Oates Vic Open, particularly because of their support for women’s participation, offering equal prize money and equal access, and showcasing the terrific facilities we have for golfers and visitors in regional Victoria.”