The Oates Vic Open is locked in for 2018, with the biggest staging in the event’s history to get underway on the 1st of February.

Australia’s fastest growing golf tournament will return to 13th Beach Golf Links for the sixth straight year and is expected to lure more of the world’s top talent to the Bellarine Peninsula.

The Oates Vic Open is the only golf tournament of its kind around the world, with the men’s and women’s fields competing on the same courses, at the same time, for an equal share in the prize money.

The tournament will again be spread across both the Beach and Creek courses for the first two rounds, before those that make the halfway cut tackle the Beach Course over the weekend.

Thanks to the continued support of the state and local governments, along with the sustained backing of the Oates Vic Open’s dedicated sponsors, the players in next year’s field will be sharing in the tournament’s largest prize pool.

In 2018, the combined purse will be a minimum of $1.3 million, meaning each of the men’s and women’s fields will battle it out in Barwon Heads for a share of $650,000.

The Ladies European Tour will again co-sanction the women’s event alongside the Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour, a move that helped lure some of Europe’s biggest names in 2017.

A fortnight later the ISPS HANDA Women’s Australian Open gets underway in Adelaide, making the Oates Vic Open the perfect platform for the game’s best female players to adapt to Australian conditions on another world class layout.

For the men, the Oates Vic Open will be one of the headline events in the early stages of the 2018 ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia calendar, with the tri-sanctioned ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth scheduled for the following week.

The last two female champions of the Oates Vic Open represented Team Europe in August’s Solheim Cup, with Mel Reid (2017) and Georgia Hall (2016) experiencing career years on the LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour respectively.

Meanwhile, this year’s men’s champion Dimitrios Papadatos went on to secure his third career victory on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia at the WA PGA Championship and is now a front runner for the Tour’s Player of the Year Award.

Victorian Minister for Sport John Eren said the 2018 event will yet again showcase the game’s finest talent.

“The Oates Vic Open is a key date on Victoria’s great calendar of golf events,” he said.

“It’s a chance to see the biggest names in action and also a great opportunity for young players to get their big break.”

"With a date locked in, we look forward to welcoming thousands of visitors to Victoria and showcasing the Bellarine Peninsula."

City of Greater Geelong Administrator Peter Dorling said the Vic Open had become a much-anticipated annual event in the Greater Geelong region.

“It is an absolute pleasure to have the Vic Open here on the Bellarine,” he said.

“It draws great crowds and allows us to show off the fine golfing terrain of 13th Beach Golf Links to the rest of the world.”

Those unable to make the trip to Barwon Heads in February will still be able to watch the weekend’s action with the return of the Oates Vic Open live stream.

Hosted on Facebook LIVE and YouTube, fans across Australia and around the world will be able to follow the final 36 holes of the tournament thanks to the Oates Vic Open’s professional broadcast team.