With the European Tour’s ‘desert swing’ now over, attention turns back to Australia with the Tour heading down under for the ISPS Handa Vic Open.
The Honda Vic Open starts on Thursday morning, and it will be the second tournament on Australian soil this season. The first was the Australian PGA Championship, which was won by Adam Scott back in December.
This will be the second running of the event since it became co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia and the European Tour in 2019, when Scotland’s David law took the victory, his first on the Tour.
Alongside the men’s event, the Women’s Victorian Open is also held, with equal prize money split across the two tournaments. The groups alternate between men and women, who play at the same venue for the four days of the tournament.
The venue that hosts the event is 13th Beach Golf Links, with both the Beach and Creek Courses involved throughout the tournament, which is also one of the only ones on the European Tour to feature a double cut.
65 players (plus ties) will remain after the second day when the regular cut takes place before the field is then cut down to 35 and ties ahead of the final round of the event.
Both courses at the venue were developed by Tony Cashmore, and both are comfortably inside the top 100 in the country each year.
The Creek Course has gently undulating couch fairways, and deep bunkers filled with yellow sand. It has firm greens surrounded by interesting bumps, swales and hollows, all closely mown.
There is also plenty of green-side bunkering that cuts into and helps mold the slopes of the putting surfaces. This mirrors the best traditions of Melbourne’s Sand Belt much admired by Faldo.
Meanwhile, the Beach Course is unique in its design. The first four holes play away from the clubhouse winding through the majority of houses. The fifth tee is the beginning of what Thirteenth Beach has become famous for, wonderful links land. Rolling through a series of dramatic and natural golf holes that look and feel like they were there long before a golf development was planned.
But perhaps the key feature of The Beach Course is its wonderful set of par 3’s. Starting at the brutal 196-yard 3rd hole to the dainty yet sinister 124-yard 16th, the par threes of The Beach Course offer a true test of a player’s iron play.
Last year, Scotland’s David Law became the first European winner in the history of the ISPS Handa Vic Open, thanks to an eagle on the 18th hole on Sunday afternoon, firing him to a one-shot victory.
Wade Ormsby, the man who finished runner-up to Law in 2019, and ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth winner Ryan Fox will also feature, and all three make our Power Rankings ahead of the event in Geelong this week. However, who takes the top spot for the Handa Vic Open?