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