HARTEBEESPOORT, 23 October 2014 – Top ranked Mellette Hendrikse put on a classy performance at Pecanwood Country Club to claim his second Indwe Risk Services SA Senior Amateur Stroke Play Championship title with a runaway victory on Friday.
The Pretoria amateur began the final round in a tie for the lead with fellow Gauteng North golfer, Chris Delport, on six under and a two stroke advantage over evergreen Jock Wellington, a three-time winner of the prestigious senior championship.
Hendrikse produced a clinical, comprehensive two-under-par 70 to triumph on eight under 136, finishing a magnificent five strokes clear of Delport and Wellington, who carded respective rounds of 73 and 75.
“At our age, you grow old fast in a year that it is really an incredible privilege for anyone to win this championship twice, let alone three times like Jock did,” said the delighted champion.
“I am so thrilled to put my name on the trophy and, if I am even halfway as competitive as I am now, I’ll definitely have another go next year.”
Hendrikse won the event in 2012, and was two shots off the pace through two rounds when his title defence in Fancourt was derailed by thunderstorms in the final round, which eventually forced organisers to call a 36-hole result.
He admits to a brief feeling of de-ja-vu when the siren rung out across the Hartebeespoortdam course as he was lining up for birdie at the 16th green.
“All I could think was ‘not again’,” Hendrikse stated. “I told my wife during the break that I wouldn’t actually mind sharing the trophy with Chris is they cancelled the final round.
“He is great friend, my captain at Gauteng North and kept me under pressure in the final round.”
Hendrikse interrupted a string of pars on the front nine just once with a birdie at the fifth. He bogeyed the the 10th and knocked home birdie putts at the 14th and 16th for his victory.
Delport was equally impressive, but battled a balky putter throughout the round.
“Chris dropped shots at the third, 15th and 18th holes, but otherwise he was really solid,” Hendrikse said.
“He also struggled to get the putter going. We both hit our irons superbly, but the difference was that three of my putts dropped.
“Jock was in there all the way, too. He turned in four under and dropped just one shot coming down the straight. It was such a great experience playing with both these guys.”
The victory caps a remarkable season for the country’s number one ranked senior, who racked up five victories, including the North West Open just a fortnight ago.
“It’s been an amazing year for me,” Hendrikse said. “I’ve never hit the ball better, especially my long irons and my short game has been coming all nicely, until this week, that is.
“Irrespective, I could put myself within birdie distance throughout the tournament and I made too many two-putts to count to save par. It’s been an incredible week and having my wife, Angie, on the bag with me today made this victory especially memorable.”
Compiled by Lali Stander
HARTEBEESPOORT, 23 October 2014 – Chris Delport produced a magnificent eagle to vault into pole position with former champion Mellette Hendrikse, while three-time champion Jock Wellington was at his vintage best in the second round of the Indwe Risk Services SA Senior Amateur Stroke Play Championship on Thursday.
Hendrikse, the champion in 2012, birdied all four par fives at Pecanwood Country Club for a 70 to set the clubhouse target at six-under-par 138.
Delport reeled in birdies at the fourth and fifth holes on his back nine before knocking in a foot-long putt for eagle at the par-five seventh for 69 and a share of the A-Section lead.
Wellington, meanwhile, offset two bogeys with three birdies and vaulted within two shots of pacesetters after he holed out at the par-three 13th.
The 63-year-old, who won the prestigious national championship in 2001, 2006 and 2008, signed for a 69 to claim a share of third on four under with overnight leader, Johan Marais, who carded a 73.
Delport was relaxed about the prospect of taking on Gauteng North stablemate Hendrikse, who came into the championship on the back of his fifth victory this season.
“As far as I am concerned, Mellette is the tournament favourite and all the pressure is on him,” the 54-year-old Zwartkops player said.
“I once played a league match against a young Rory Sabbatini. I told him: ‘Youngster, if you beat me today, all the guys will say hard luck, but if I beat you, they will call it major upset’.
“It’s the same for Mellette. His game is rock solid at the moment. I had one bad shot at the third, where I thought I took a nine-iron and smashed a seven-iron into the houses. Otherwise I had a great day out there. You never know what will happen on the day.”
Hendrikse was two off the pace after two rounds last year, but his title defence was derailed when organisers were forced to call a 36-hole tournament due adverse weather conditions at Fancourt.
The 54-year-old Akasia golfer has dominated the senior amateur circuit this season, but is cautious ahead of the final round.
“I’m striking the ball very well, but the putter went ice-cold on me out there,” he said. “I was hitting my irons close, but I just couldn’t sink a putt. It was just one of those days, I guess. I may have to stick the putter in oven before we tee off tomorrow.”
Compiled by Lali Stander
HARTEBEESPOORT, 23 October 2014 – Gauteng North’s Mellette Hendrikse finishes within striking distance of first round leader Johan Marais when the A-Division completed the first round of the weather-struck Indwe Risk Services South African Senior Amateur Stroke Play Championship this morning.
Marais from Southern Cape opened with five-under-par 67 at Pecanwood Country Club, but inclement weather in the late afternoon forced organisers to suspend play for the day.
Former champion Hendrikse trailed by one at the time of the suspension and completed the 18th hole this morning to sign for a four under 68.
Fellow Gauteng North senior Chris Delport closed with a 69 to finish one stroke clear of Western Province’s Brian Mampies and Robin Ashby of Gauteng North.
Compiled by Lali Stander