Top 40 for Wellington at Royal Aberdeen

Although the Senior Open Amateur Championship ended in a downpour of heavy rain and hailstones, South Africa’s Jock Wellington manage to grind out a final round 77 to claim a top 40 finish at Royal Aberdeen on Sunday.

One of senior golf’s most prestigious championships, the 45th edition of the Senior Open Amateur drew a strong field and 62-year-old Wellington from Kyalami Country Club was one of four top South African senior amateurs among the 144 golfers who competed in Scotland.

Wellington, Wellington tied for 13th in 2012 and finished joint 16th in 2011, made his six appearance in the championship alongside fellow Central Gauteng golfer, Alan Fraser, Basil Naidoo from KwaZulu-Natal and Stephen Cullen from Mpumalanga.

As the leading over-55 Senior Amateurs on the Senior Order of Merit in March, Naidoo and Cullen’s entries were sponsored by the South African Golf Association (SAGA).

Wellington opened with a 75 and added a second round 77 at the classic links layout and Cullen returned rounds of 75 and 79 to make the cut set at 14-over-par 156 for the leading 60 players and ties. Unfortunately Fraser and Naidoo earned an early departure after carding rounds of 86-79 and 81-77 respectively.

In Sunday’s final round, Wellington turned in one over and Cullen was three over after nine holes before the bad weather ensued at the .

Wellington dropped five shots from 12 to 14 and bogeyed the 17th for a 77 while Cullen double bogeyed the 10th, dropped two more shots at the 12th and 16th and closed with back-to-back double bogeys foran 83 to finish joint 55th on 24-over-par 237.

The championship was won by American George Zahringer, who came from one shot behind for a one stroke victory over fellow American Tom Brandes. The 60-year-old New York amateur posted rounds of 69-75-74 for a winning total of two-over-par 218.

“It’s great to win my first international title,” Zahringer said. “Playing for the US in the Walker Cup and winning the US Mid-Amateur were great and another highlight of my career was taking part in eight US Senior Opens, but this is extra special because it is overseas.”

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