Pretoria - Mark McNulty became the first player to successfully defend his SA Senior Masters title.
The SA Senior Masters took place at the Silver Lakes Golf Estate from November 7-9 over 54 holes of stroke play.
The 2018 champion started the first round with three birdies at the 2nd, 4th & 7th to be 3-under par at the turn. He then birdied 12th, 14th & 15th to finish the round on 67 (-5), one shot off the leaders, that included only one drop shot to par.
James Kingston, who won the SA Senior Open recently, took an early lead with 6 birdies & 3 pars to turn at 6-under par. Kingston birdied the 10th & then dropped a shot at the 11th to finish the first round on 66 (-6).
Henry Roodt, who is the Silver Lakes Club Captain, took advantage of the conditions to produce a birdie on the 1st hole & an eagle on the par 5, 7th hole to turn in 33 (-3). On the return nine Roodt birdied the 11th, 15th, 16th & 18th with a drop on the 17th to finish on 66 (-6) and tied the lead with Kingston. There were seven other players under par after day 1.
Rocky Tlhabanyane made a speedy move on the second day with birdies at the 1st, 2nd, 4th & 7th to reach the clubhouse in 32 (-4). Tlhabanyane then dropped a single stroke at the par 4 12th hole but came back with a string of birdies at the 15th, 17th & 18th to complete the second round in 66 (-6).
McNulty opened the second round with a birdie at the 1st, an eagle at the par 5, 2nd & another birdie on the 7th. McNulty then dropped at the 10th, 12th & 16th but tidied his score card up with birdies at the 11th, 14th & 17th to post a 68 (-4) round.
Kingston made two birdies on the front nine at the 5th & 7th to make the turn in 34 (-2). The outward nine saw Kingston drop a shot at the 10th but came back with a pair of birdies on the 14th & 15th to make the clubhouse in 69 (-3).
At the end of the second round the leader board had McNulty & Kingston tied at the top on 9 under par (-9), Tlhabanyane on his own on (-6) with Andre Cruse next on (-2). Henry Roodt, Callie Swart & Gary Thompson were all at (-1). Andy Shackleton, also a local, had two good rounds on 71 & 73 to end the second round on level par.
The second-round cut afforded the top 45 players an opportunity to compete in the final round on Saturday, 9th November for the R60 000 first prize in the total prize fund of R400 000.
The weather prediction for the final round was unpleasant with strong winds & possible thunderstorms. The round started at 07:00 off both the 1st & 10th tees for the possible inclement weather. As predicted, there were heavy winds but no early rain. McNulty dropped at the 1st & the 3rd holes and with birdies at the 4th & 7th finished the first nine on level par.
Kingston also dropped shots at the 1st & 3rd but made three birdies at the 2nd, 4th & 5th to come in on 35 (-1). Kingston then dropped at the 10th, 14th, 17th & 18th to finish the round on 75 (+3). Tlhabanyane fell out of contention and finished on 83.
After drop shots at the 13th, 14th & 17th, McNulty included a birdie at the 16th. Coming down the 18th hole, McNulty & Kingston were both on (-7). The expectant crowd was talking about a playoff that may take place between the two. However, Kingston put his approach into the water and took a 1-over par, 6.
McNulty missed his birdie putt but a par-5 was good enough to claim his SA Senior Masters title for the second time.
Final result (top 20) - All competitors RSA unless otherwise specified:
209 - Mark McNulty 67 68 74
210 - James Kingston 66 69 75
214 - Gary Thompson 72 71 71
216 - Theo Dauwa 69 76 71; Callie Swart 68 75 73; Andre Cruse 69 73 74
217 - Kevin Stone 69 76 72
219 - Michael Green 72 75 72; Steve van Vuuren 70 77 72; Neil Cheetham 71 74 74
221 - Nic Henning 69 76 76; Rocky Tlhabanyane 72 66 83
222 - Rob van Velzen 75 73 74; Andy Shackleton 71 73 78
223 -Mike Quinn 75 75 73; Laurison Mahlangu 71 77 75
224 - Chris Davison 73 74 77; Roy da Costa 73 73 78
226 - Rodger Govender 74 75 77; Dick Ndebele 73 76 77; Bobby Lincoln 74 77 75; Andre Pistorius 72 77 77; Ben Fouchee 73 78 75; AP Botes 78 76 72