OP­POR­TU­NITY KNOCKS

Why the Oates Vic Open is so im­por­tant, espe­cially to the likes of Ben Ec­cles and Han­nah Green. Rod Morri re­ports.

Golf Australia - - CONTENTS - WORDS ROD MORRI PHOTOGRAPHY GETTY IMAGES

The life of a tour­ing pro­fes­sional de­mands that most weeks are spent on the road. Nights in your own bed are a rar­ity, to have the lux­ury dur­ing tour­na­ment week al­most un­heard of. So when the Vic Open rolls around at Thir­teenth Beach in Fe­bru­ary, se­cond year pro­fes­sional Ben Ec­cles will grab the hop­ing to go one bet­ter this time around.

“Be­ing a lo­cal here means this tour­na­ment is top of the tree in my books,” says Ec­cles.

“I would love noth­ing more than to be able to put my name on the tro­phy and the goal for the week is to be in con­tention, ob­vi­ously.

“I’ve done it the last two years and I feel a more ma­ture and rounded player now than I was then so I feel if I can put my­self there I op­por­tu­nity with both hands.

Ec­cles grew up, and still lives, less than a 15-minute drive from the host venue and has been a reg­u­lar vis­i­tor since his teenage years. Win­ner of the 2015 NSW Open while still an am­a­teur, Ec­cles has teed up three times in his home state open and has two top-fives to his name. A tied third in 2015 was fol­lowed by a tied fifth in 2016 and the 22-year-old is

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