England’s Melissa Reid took the first title of the 2017 Ladies European Tour season, the Oates Vic Open, when she defeated Germany’s Sandra Gal on the third extra hole in a sudden death play-off at 13th Beach Golf Links in Australia. On a blustery afternoon in Barwon Heads which saw winds gusts up to 55 kilometres per hour, the lead switched hands several times before Sandra Gal set the clubhouse lead at 16-under-par after firing a superb four-under-round 69. Reid had a chance to win on the 72nd hole of the tournament after hitting a superb 3-wood to the front of the green on the par-5 18th hole, but took three putts from long range to send the tournament into extra time. The third time around, Gal hit her third shot just over the back of the green and failed to get up and down leaving Reid with a putt from a metre to win.
While the final round weather was more reminiscent of an Open Championship in Scotland than an Australian summer, the players enjoyed the experience of men and women playing a Championship together in alternate tee times over the Beach and Creek courses for the first two rounds, and then over the Beach Course on the weekend. A regular comment expressed by spectators was how much they enjoyed the experience of walking along the fairways with the players, with an ‘inside the ropes’ experience – as opposed to outside the ropes! Coincidentally, the matching winning totals for Melissa Reid and Dimitrios Papadatos were an excellent 16-under-par, providing a high-quality display for all that attended over the four days.