Madelene Sagstrom – photo Golf Australia

The Men’s and Women’s Vic Opens being played on the Bellarine Peninsula south west of Melbourne have reached the halfway stage with Frenchman Robin Sciot Siegrist ahead by two in the men’s event and Sweden’s Madelene Sagstrom leading by one in the women’s event.

Sciot-Siegrist secured his playing rights for Europe at the Tour School late last year after narrowly missing out on the top 15 on the Challenge Tour in 2019, a feat which would have given him his first European Tour card.

The lefthander has played the Challenge Tour in the past three years after a successful collegiate career in the US at the University of Louisville. He has recorded one win on the Challenge Tour but this is his first foray into the European Tour and this his 4th event as a cardholder.

He is one of the few Europeans to have ventured down for the one-off event but given his standing on the European Tour he needed to take advantage of the start at 13th Beach.

Robin Sciot-Siegrist – photo Golf Australia

“Because I didn’t get in too many events the last couple of weeks, I mean, there was Saudi Arabia, Dubai and everything and I didn’t get into these events,” said the leader.

“So I wanted to play, I needed to play. And yeah, I mean, in the end like just wanted to come here, you know, and see if I can do something.  And I’ve never been to Australia, so it’s nice to be here for the first time.”

The lead is by two over New South Welshman Travis Smyth and recently crowned Australian Amateur Champion Jediah Morgan from Queensland.

Matthew Griffin, Min Woo Lee and Jake McLeod are another shot back in 4th place.

For Morgan, who won the Australian Amateur Championship at Royal Queensland three weeks ago and led the qualifiers at the NSW Amateur Championship the following week , things just keep getting better.

“It feels awesome,” said the 20 year old whose parents owned a small country golf course west of Brisbane. “It’s obviously what you do, like what you want to happen through the first couple rounds of a pretty big tournament.

“I haven’t been in the last group of a tournament as big as this before, so I’m excited.  I’m a bit scared, but it’s all going to come in sort of one hit and I’m going to try and just sort of I guess learn as much as I can from the players that are around me, because they’re all a little bit better so they’ve obviously been in that situation a few more times.”

Sagstrom shared the lead after day one of the Women’s Vic Open and added a second round of 67 to her opening 65 to lead by one over American Solheim Cup player Ally McDonald.

Australia’s Robyn Choi, Korean Ayean Cho and Swede Linnea Strom are tied for 3rd.

Sagstrom, though, has picked up where she left off at her breakthrough LPGA Tour win in Florida recently and is beginning to fulfill the promise she showed when winning several events on the Symetra Tour before joining the LPGA Tour three years ago.

“I mean, winning definitely gives you the biggest confidence boost ever,” said Sagstrom.  “I think I’ve kind of done really well to keep it going this week. I’m really confident out here. I’m clearly trusting my game and trusting my commitment and decisions, so I’m really happy.

“I think I’m staying very patient. I know that there’s good golf in my system right now obviously from having good form, but I think that just taking one shot at a time, really committing to everything.  And then, I mean, I know I’m striking it well, so when I kind of get out of that worry zone and just go for it, that’s why I’m playing real well.”

Australia’s Minjee Lee is nicely placed at 9 under and just four form the lead, the two-time winner of this event nicely poised heading into the final 36 holes.