KIWI Michael Long has played one of his “career best” golf shots to win the Oates Vic Open at Thirteenth Beach.
After shooting a final round 3-under 69 Long ended regulation play tied for the lead on 13-under 275 with playing partner Matthew Millar who sizzled home with three straight birdies on the final holes.
Playing the 18th hole in a sudden death playoff, Long safely found the middle of the fairway with his tee shot but pushed his second shot well left, almost crossing into a hazard.
The ball ended up in deep rough resting on a reed. Canberra’s Millar meanwhile had put his third shot on the green and had a 25 foot birdie putt.
“[The ball] was sitting up high so it was a little baseball shot and I said to my caddy `here we go, it’s a wing and a prayer’ and it came out perfect,” said the 47 year old Long, whose last win was the 2008 West Australian PGA Championship.
“I don’t want to say it was a pure fluke”
The ball ended up eight foot from the hole and after the luckless Millar missed his birdie attempt, Long slotted his putt home to take the title.
“What can you say? I don’t want to say it was a pure fluke because I had some idea what I was going to do. But I could not do that again in probably 100 attempts.”
Long said the chip out of the reeds ranked in his top-10 best ever plays in a career spanning 26 years.
“That was pretty special – that one will live for a long time. I feel a little bit sad for Matthew because I had no right to make four from there,” he said.
Runner-up Millar was philosophical.
“You don’t assume anything in golf because you can always hole if from anywhere but to be honest walking on the green I thought `we’re a red hot chance to at least go one more hole here’ because I certainly wouldn’t have backed him to get it up and down from out of there, ” Millar said.
“But good on him, he played well today and he’s obviously played well through the week and didn’t make too many errors.”
Finishing in a tie for third place were Aron Price and Scott Strange on a tournament total 11-under 277.
Local boy Ben Eccles was disappointed to bogey his final hole to finish on 10-under tied fifth alongside Josh Geary, Ryan Carter, Michael Wright and Michael Sim.
The PGA Tour of Australasia now moves to Huntingdale Golf Club in Melbourne for the Mercedes-Benz Truck and Bus Victorian PGA Championship.
Long’s “miracle” shot from the reeds: Video
From the long stuff! This is the shot that won New Zealander Michael Long the Victorian Open playoff. Congratulations, Michael.
Posted by Golf Australia on Sunday, February 7, 2016