A dramatic finish at Spring Valley yesterday earned French golfer Joanna Klatten her first professional win in front of the huge crowd at the Victorian Open.
Klatten was actually enjoying a cold beer in the clubhouse after finishing on eight-under-par, which gave her a two shot lead over the rest of the field. Enter Korean Haeji Kang.
Kang was still playing the 1 7th with the last group, but then eagled the 18th by holing a shot 98 metres off the green to force a sudden-death playoff.
It was only after Kang missed her one-metre putt for par on the second-hole of the playoff, that 26-year-old Klatten claimed the win on what was also her first trip to Australia.
“It was very special, especially the way that it happened,” she said after the win, still shaking with emotion.
Her bogey-free final round included three birdies and an eagle giving her eleven under for the last 25 holes of the tournament, which was all the more impressive considering it followed an eight on the par three 10th on Saturday.
Klatten did not even know where her clubs were when the crowd’s almighty roar following Kang’s amazing long shot let her know her round was not over yet.
“When she holed the shot I was a little bit tipsy because I don’t drink, so I was a little bit worried, but I went to hit some balls and I tried to chug as much water as I could to completely sober up and I did,” she said.
A disappointied Kang said “that’s golf”. “It was disappointing but I’m happy with my result.”
She said she knew her chip shot – with a 54-degree wedge and a helping win – on the 54th hole was a “perfect shot”.
“Then I started to hear everyone screaming so I was really happy,” she said.
Rebecca Flood came in third on five under.
Meanwhile a new course record of 66 was set by Rachel Bailey (NSW) who finished with four under for the tournament, and Kristie Smith (WA), who finished with three over.