When the throng of fellow players performed the traditional spraying of champagne on the winner, Breanna Gill simply stood there with arms wide open and enjoyed every last drop that fell on her. As she’d always planned.
Gill had just won a thrilling playoff to claim the Australian Women’s Classic and it was a moment she was going to savour on Bonville Golf Resort’s 18th green.
“I always thought in my head if I ever got the opportunity to actually win a golf tournament and the girls happen to come running out on the green, I was going to stand there and take it. I wasn’t going to run away,” Gill said.
“If you get yourself in that position, you just take it. It was so special.”
Gill made a three-foot birdie putt on the final hole of regulation play to join Danni Vasquez on six-under and force a playoff.
Vasquez had birdied two of the final three holes to be the clubhouse leader and both Gill and Stephanie Bunque needed birdies on their last hole to join her at the top of the leaderboard. Both reached the green in two and had long eagle putts.
Bunque’s putt had a lot more right-to-left break in it than Gill’s and her attempt picked up speed after passing the hole to leave her with a tough 10-footer to get into a playoff.
The Victorian’s return attempt just missed on the high side and she had to settle for third position.
Gill’s eagle attempt came up three feet short and she was able to convert the opportunity to see her and Vasquez return to the 18th tee for the sudden-death playoff.
In the playoff, Vasquez was unable to make her eight-foot uphill birdie putt but Gill snuck her three-foot left-to-right slider in the lower side of the cup to claim victory.
Vasquez showed no signs of disappointment at being so close to victory but not quite reaching her goal. The Wollongong-based PGA Associate at the South Coast Golf Centre preferred to reflect on the fun she had throughout the event.
“I just enjoyed the first two days and then before the last round, I said to [her caddie and fiancé] Darcy, ‘Let’s just give myself an opportunity,’ and I did exactly that so I’m really happy,” Vasquez said.
“As sad as it is losing in a playoff, I’m very happy that Breanna did win. She’s a great lady and I’m very happy to go up against her but I’m also very happy with myself.”
Bunque was leading until a dramatic two-stroke swing on the 14th hole where Gill chipped in for eagle from 32 metres. The swing could’ve been greater if Bunque didn’t nail a 40-foot par putt from the fringe to stay within a single stroke.
While Vasquez was finishing strongly in the group ahead, both Gill and Bunque made bogeys on the 15th before Gill found the water off the tee on 16. The winner’s 15-foot downhill putt for bogey to keep her in a share of the lead proved to be a pivotal moment.
“I stepped up over that putt and I wasn’t afraid of it and I knew that I wanted to pour that thing into the middle,” she added.
“I threw it a couple of feet out to the right and let it break back. Perfect pace, perfect line and it just went right in the centre. Very proud of that one and it kept the momentum going.”
The third-place getter was thrilled that she was still in contention all the way to the end.
“The way I hung in there for the entire 18 holes is something that I’m very proud of after what I thought was a relatively slow start,” Bunque said.
“Bree got off a quicker start than I did and I think that could’ve gone south pretty quickly but I’m proud of the way that I kept hitting every shot as it came and just hanging in there until literally the last putt.”