ENGLAND’S Mel Reid and New South Welshman Dimi Papadatos have taken out the men’s and women’s Vic Opens in an enthralling final day at 13th Beach Golf Links.
Reid overcame Germany’s Sandra Gal in a three hole play-off while Papadatos claimed outright victory by two shots on a windy and difficult final day.
It was a particularly emotional victory for Reid as her mother Joy, who died tragically in a car accident almost five years ago, would have celebrated her birthday this week.
“I don’t know but I had a good feeling about this week,” the likeable Reid said after her round.
“I didn’t want to mention it to anyone at the start of the week but it was my mum’s birthday this week on the Tuesday and I just thought something good had to happen.
“We were warming up on the putting green and my mum’s favourite film was Dirty Dancing and they were playing the theme from Dirty Dancing.
“And I said to Benje (her caddy) ‘I’ve just got a feeling about this week, it’s fate, you know,’.”
MEL REID TALKS ABOUT HER VIC OPEN WIN:
That thought was quickly erased with a double bogey at the second but Reid showed great tenacity to fight back after dropping another shot at the next before making an eagle at the par-5 5th with a brilliant chip in.
“The whole day was honestly brutal out there, it was one of toughest wins I’ve ever had,” she said.
“Especially after the start that I got when I didn’t feel I’d hit a bad shot in the first five holes so to be 3-over after four was not ideal.
“But it was just a true test of golf, you know. It brought a lot of character out there today so I’m over the moon with managing to get the win.”
Reid overcame several difficult periods during her round, including finding a sand filled divot in the rough when she laid up with an iron off the short par-4 15th.
“It was a great par on 15,” she said. “That’s probably one of the best pars I’ve ever had because my lie for my second shot was awful.”
Par saves at both 16 and 17 were icing on the cake and Reid, needing a birdie at the par-5 18th to win outright, almost got the job done.
She rifled a low 3-wood into the breeze for her second which caught the front edge of the putting surface and trickled back down to a collection area short of the green.
Unable to get up and down she headed for extra time with Gal, the pair both making par on their first two trips up the 18th before Gal finally blinked with a bogey the third time around.
While Reid made a statement to Solheim Cup Captain Annika Sorenstam with her win, for Papadatos the main message was to himself.
Winner of the 2014 New Zealand Open, Papadatos’ confidence has taken a beating in recent years as he has struggled to make his way in the game internationally.
A year spent chasing starts on Europe’s secondary Challenge Tour in 2016 proved to Papadatos he needed to work harder and his second professional victory will help prove to himself he has the game to go to the next level.
DIMI PAPADATOS TALKS ABOUT HIS VIC OPEN WIN:
“It’s a bit of a relief after struggling for so long to know that you’ve still got it,” the 25-year-old said after his final round.
“I think mentally I did really well. I was just very patient out there, I was pretty calm all day and there were just no hiccups.
“I made one bogey on seven and that was my only slip up for the day.”
Papadatos said the win was just one step on the path back to his best golf having set himself the goal of capturing a title early in the season.
“I’ve got no status in Europe this year at all so my big goal was to try to have a win early in the year,” he said.
“Deep down I thought if I can win something I might be able to snag a couple of invites and start getting back into Europe if I can get my game good enough.
“I think if I get some sort of opportunity I might be able to make something happen.”
Overnight co-leader Matt Giles and Jake McLeod both struggle din the strong winds on Sunday, McLeod shooting 75 and Giles 78.
Photo: Justin Falconer/Golf Vic
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