Richard Green and Marianne Skarpnord shared a rare golfing fairytale when they won the men’s and women’s Oates Victorian Open titles at the place they call home, 13th Beach Golf Links in Barwon Heads, Australia, two years ago in February, 2015. Now the pair are looking for an even rarer double.
Norwegian Skarpnord was the first to post her winning total of 13-under, with a three stroke victory over Holly Clyburn and Su Oh, before fiancé Green won the men’s title in a play-off against Nick Cullen.
At the time, the events were sanctioned by the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia and Australian Ladies Professional Golf and Green told the ALPG website: “It is like a dream coming true, a fairy tale. This week has been unreal. First we got engaged last week, moved into the house on Monday, he had an albatross on Wednesday, and here we are today winners, so don’t think I can ask for anything more.”
The Oates Vic Open is the only tournament in the world where the men and women play alongside one another on the same course, albeit in alternate groups, and the opportunity for Skarpnord and Green to be at the same event was another was another factor in their decision to play.
“I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to play at the same time with each other,” Green said. “We pass each other in the night for most of the year so when we get the chance to be together at a tournament it’s great.”
The Oates Vic Open will be played from 9-12 February at 13th Beach Golf Links with two fields of 144 female players and 144 male players each vying for an equal prize purse of AU$500,000. The Beach and the Creek Course will host the event for the first two rounds, followed by the Beach Course only over the weekend.
— Marianne Skarpnord (@MSkarpnord) 7 February 2017
While Skarpnord is a three-time winner on the Ladies European Tour, who last won at the 2013 South African Women’s Open, Green lost his status on the European Tour after he was pushed out of accrued prize money exemption by Alex Noren at the 11th hour last year.
He recently took out the Asian Tour Qualifying School which would have allowed the Victorian to play at the co-sanctioned Maybank Championship, however Green said at this stage of his career he’s looking for more enjoyment out of tournaments over competing for prize money.
“I love the event here and I love being around my family and friends and it’s a tournament I think I can win and I love playing the courses here.
“It’s a bit of a weird feeling to have tournament in your backyard but it’s pretty ideal especially when I spend so much time travelling. To be at home this week is really good,” Green said.