Hendrikse targets Players’ Championship
South Africa’s top ranked senior Mellette Hendrikse made a seamless transition to 2015 when he clinched a play-off victory Gauteng North Senior Open this January.
The 54-year-old Akasia golfer notched four provincial victories last year and wrapped up his number one spot with his second Indwe Risk Services SA Senior Amateur Stroke Play Championship title in October.
Hendrikse picked up where he left off when he produced a patented final round charge in the season-opener at Waterkloof Golf Club to tie Gerhard Strydom on one over 145. He clinched the title with a birdie at the first extra hole.
Having started the season on a winning note, Hendrikse is targeting the elusive ‘double’ at the invitation-only Players’ Championship at Sun City next month.
“Our two flagship events are the Players’ Championship and the Indwe Senior SA Stroke Play,” he said.
“I’ve won the Stroke Play twice, but the Players’ still eludes me. The best I’ve managed is a sixth place finish, but I’m going all out at Sun City this year.”
Although the Stroke Play has been around for a while, the Players’ Championship only launched in 2012.
“The Players’ Championship was the brainchild of fellow senior, Philip Viljoen,” Hendrikse explained.
“He dreamt of hosting a prestigious championship that would showcase the talents of the top senior amateurs in the country.
“KWV and PricewaterHouseCoopers came on board and the Players’ Championship became a reality. Their sponsorship and further contributions by The Pro Shot and Pernod Ricard has seen the Players’ Championship grow into one of the most sought-after events on our calendar.
“The field is limited to the top 50 available players. The rankings determine the field, with the result that the seniors compete fiercely throughout the season to make the grade.
“The Players’ has grown in stature quickly. Our accommodation, meals, green fees and everything else is taken care of and we are treated like royalty during the event. Every senior amateur in South Africa wants in on the action.”
Philip Bierman from Akasia Country Club won the inaugural Players’ Championship at Pecanwood and Strand Golf Club’s Peter van Coller clinched the 2013 title after the event moved to Sun City.
Lynton Beckett from Royal Durban Golf Club in KwaZulu-Natal successfully navigated his way around the Gary Player Country Club last year to add his name to growing list of champions.
“I am really excited that this year’s event will be contested over 54 holes,” Hendrikse said.
“The extra round really adds to the prestige of the championship and it also gives you a chance to recover if you started badly, which is quite possible at the Gary Player.
“At our age there are not that many challenges left, so I would love to win this tournament and become the first player to win the ‘Double’.
“It would also be nice to conquer the Gary Player Country Club, which I believe to be the best course in South Africa.”
Hendrikse will have top ranked Western Province golfer Francois le Roux, former tennis ace Kevin Curren and Leon Scheepers from Zwartkop Country Club for company in the first round.
SA number two Jock Wellington, a three-time Indwe Senior SA Stroke Play winner, and third ranked Basil Naidoo from KwaZulu-Natal, who won the Free State Senior Open recently, will also be in the mix at the Gary Player Country Club from 6-8 February.
For more info, visit http://www.gngu.co.za/scoring/res2015/players/sagaindx.htm.
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.