By MARK HEENAN
INTERNATIONAL and interstate professional and amateur golfers took in the sights of Ocean Grove this month after competing in the Vic Open at Thirteenth Beach Golf Links.
Canadian pro golfers Jessica MacPhee, Kyla Inaba and Eileen Kelly spent the week on Bellarine’s coastal surrounds thanks to housing assistance from two Ocean Grove Golf Club families.
The female trio stayed with Ocean Grove golfer Janine Fitzpatrick, while Western Australian pro Jarryd Felton and partner Hannah Green, an amateur, stayed with members Ian and Cynthia Berry.
Eileen Kelly, from Victoria in British Columbia, admitted she had fallen with love with Ocean Grove.
“It is really wonderful getting to stay with the host families and for them to take us in because we get to experience more of the Australian culture,” Kelly said.
“Ocean Grove is a beautiful area and it is a wonderful place to kind of see the ocean and I like that stuff.
“We’ll be definitely coming back to Ocean Grove.”
Kyla Inaba, who hails from Kelowna in British Columbia, said it was great to experience the local community surrounds.
“Love it, it is beautiful and it is great to get to know some of the community and get to know some of the people,” Inaba told the Voice.
Kelly said residing with the Fitzpatrick household helped the trio eliminate expenses flying solo on the expensive world golf tour.
“It saves on expenses, we are chasing a pretty difficult dream, but we love it,” she said.
Despite their busy golf schedule the three international golfers managed to fit in time to visit the stunning Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road.
Unfortunately the Canadian trio failed to make the cut and missed out on playing the final two days of the Vic Open.
Meanwhile, Felton, 20, shot five under the card after the completion of his four rounds at the Vic Open.
He fired his best round on opening day 4 February with a sizzling 69.
He finished eight strokes behind eventual Vic Open winner New Zealand’s Michael Long, who won in a play-off against Australian Matthew Millar.
Felton’s partner Hannah Green also finished eight strokes behind female winner and English teenager Georgia Hall, who won by one shot from 2015 Vic Open champion Marianne Skarpnord and Nanna Madsen.
Green was the highest placed female amateur at this year’s Vic Open.
The Vic Open was played at Thirteenth Beach Golf Links in Barwon Heads from 4-7 February.