Naude triumphs in Ekurhuleni Senior Open play-off

Gauteng senior Schalk Naude claimed the weather-affected Ekurhuleni Senior Open at Benoni Country Club on Sunday, after organisers were forced to scrap the first round and reduce the tournament to 18 holes.

“The lightning storms and constant rain left the course unplayable on Saturday, so we knew the pressure was one to perform with only 18 holes to play,” said the champion.

The 56-year-old amateur from Randpark Country Club carded a one-under-par 71 and tied for the lead with ERMP’s Dave Jessup and Dirk Swanevelder at the end of regulation play.

“I dropped a shot at the seventh and turned one over, but I levelled the score with a birdie at the 10th,” Naude said. “I boxed a 15-footer for birdie at the 14th, but dropped another shot at 15. I managed to square that one away with a birdie at the 16th and parred the last two holes.

“Dave and Dirk were both on 71, but we had to wait for Mellette Hendrikse to finish. He made six at the 18th for a 72, so at least I didn’t have him to worry about in the play-off.”

Naude walked off the par-five first in glory after his opponents both made six at the first extra hole.

“I hit a pretty good drive down the fairway and hit a solid three-wood for my approach,” Naude explained.

“I had 60 meters to the pin and flew a lob-wedge to about five foot. The other two boys made it easy for me when they both bogeyed, so I just had to tidy up to seal the win.”

Naude lost the Limpopo Senior Open earlier this season in a play-off to reigning Indwe Risk Services SA Senior Amateur Stroke Play champion, Mellette Hendrikse.

“After a fourth, a third and a runner-up finish this season, it’s really nice to lift a trophy again,” the champion said. “You don’t feel so bad losing to Mellette in a play-off. After all, he is the top ranked player this season and he has won six times. But it feels pretty darn good to know that I beat at least two guys to win this one. With a win and loss in play-offs, I hope I can carry this vein of form to victory in the Central Gauteng Open this weekend or the Ottway Hayes Senior Classic next week.”

Meanwhile Hendrikse protected his number one spot in the South African Golf Association’s Senior Rankings with a tie for fourth on 72.

Second ranked Morgan Philips from KwaZulu-Natal registered a 73 to finish alone in seventh, Gauteng’s Jock Wellington remained third after a 74 that also saw him secure the Super Senior title and Naude climbed to fourth in the standings.

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.

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