5 Feb 2024

Media Release:

Victoria’s Brett Coletta came out on top in a head-to-head duel with Sydney’s Jordan Zunic to claim the biggest victory of his career at the $420,000 Vic Open today.

After starting the final round on the Beach Course at 13th Beach Golf Links two shots from the lead, Coletta fired a sensational 7-under-par 65 to claim his third Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia title and move to second place on this year’s Order of Merit, in touching distance of a DP World Tour card.

In the women’s Open, Malaysia’s Ashley Lau staved off defending champion Jiyai Shin by one stroke thanks to a closing round of 66, with the Korean’s 10-metre attempt for birdie on the final hole to force a playoff at 12-under agonisingly lipping out.

It’s 23-year-old Lau’s first win as a professional after a stellar college career at the University of Michigan. 

Zunic, who ended up two shots in arrears following a 67 to be -16 overall, went birdie for birdie-for-birdie with Coletta with the duo combining for 11 birdies and an eagle overall for the day.

Victorian Andrew Martin (68) charged late with four birdies in his last five holes to join Zunic in a share of second.

“This was an 18-hole duel. Fortunately it was my day today,” said the new men’s champion, who admitted he was nervous last night thinking how about important this Sunday was to his professional career which almost took him to the PGA Tour four years ago.

“This is pretty big. I’m pretty emotional inside.

“I know I’m able to win out here in the smaller events, the tier twos I suppose. The next level is to really up your game and win these bigger ones.

“Hopefully I can continue the trend and roll the dice at the bigger events, the PGA and the Australian Open.

“This was one of those times when it was my time I guess.”

Schooled at Hills International in Queensland in years 11 and 12, Lau has been in outstanding form on her return trip to Australia, including shooting a 61 at Rosebud Country Club last week in the Webex Players Series Victoria event, eventually finishing second to New Zealand’s Kazuma Kobori.

“I was very nervous. I’ve never been in this position before,” Lau said of her wait to see if she had claimed her first pro win.

“When the news came in that I’d won, I started crying.

“I came down here just to prepare for the upcoming Epson Tour. This is a big confidence boost.”

The always upbeat Shin, who was chasing her 65th professional win, vowed to return to the 18th green for a second try at the elusive 72nd hole putt this week while she stays on the Bellarine Peninsula for a week of training.

"Maybe a little bit of pressure with the back-to-back, because this tournament has never had a back-to-back winner," she said.

"I just kept saying to myself 'make new history, make new history', but maybe too much pressure.

"I'm still smiling because I did all my best.

"I love to play in Australia."

Queensland’s Sarah Jane Smith (71) and Karis Davidson (73) were the leading Australians in the women's event in a share of fifth place on 7-under, five shots behind Lau who only turned professional at the end of 2022.

The low round of the day came from Queensland’s Jed Morgan who found the spark he’s been waiting some months to discover, shooting an 8-under-par 64 to end up at 14-under for the men’s tournament, in a share of fourth with Travis Smyth (66).

“That round has been coming for a little while, probably a little over six months,” Morgan said.

“I’ve been working on some things. That’s one round in the books.”

 

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Photo: PGA of Australasia

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