6 November 2023 – A year ago, Western Province senior Greg Woodbridge produced the round of his life on the final day at East London Golf Club to win the SA Senior Amateur Championship with a four-shot victory at East London Golf Club.
The defending champion did it again in the Kalahari, but this time he had to come from behind to go back-to-back in the premier senior championship at Sishen Country Club.
Woodbridge was five off the pace starting the final round after successive rounds of 75.
The 55-year-old, who plays out of Atlantic Beach Links, reduced the gap with a birdie-birdie start and negated a bogey at the third with a birdie on the sixth to stay in touch with on frontrunner Graeme Watson.
He was still trailing Watson after dropping shots on the 10th and 12th holes but a superb birdie on the par-three 17th and par at the tough closing hole for a one-under 71 saw Woodbridge set the clubhouse target on five-over 221.
Watson was four-over through 15 and Woodbridge and his wife and caddie Candice considered hitting the road back to Cape Town when the Ekurhuleni senior ran into trouble off the tee on the 16th and walked off with a double bogey.
Two holes later, and two more bogeys from Watson, and the title was his again.
“This felt quite surreal because it was so unexpected,” said Woodbridge, the only player to fire a sub-par score in the final round. “I thought to myself at the start the start of the round that if I could get under par, I might have a chance. Then when Graeme doubled 16, and I thought we might go into a play-off, so I’d better stick around.
“It was really tough out there in the final round. The fairways and greens were dry, and the ball bounced around a lot. I just did my best to stay patient and to make the best score I could on every hole. To win back-to-back is very special, because there are so many great golfers out there.”
Is the hat-trick on?
“We’re in Cape Town next year, which is great and I’m going to work hard at it and try very hard to make it three in row. Given the standard of golf we’ve seen on the senior circuit this year. I will have to raise my game considerably, but you never say never.”
With the win, Woodbridge joined former SA greats Mellette Hendrikse and Morgan Phillips, who scored successive feats in in 2013 | 2014 and 2018 | 2019 respectively.
221 Greg Woodbridge 75 75 71
223 Gordon Wessels 74 74 75
224 Craig Kamps 79 69 76; Graeme Watson 69 76 79
226 Douglas McCabe 76 73 77; Weyers Janse van Rensburg 75 73 78
227 Clive Williams 77 78 72; Charl Swart 75 74 78; Cameron Johnston 74 79 74
228 Neale Gandy 78 75 75