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.”
FINAL RESULT (top 20 only)
208 Mellette Hendrikse 68 70 70
213 Jock Wellington 71 69 73; Chris Delport 69 69 75
215 Johan Marais 67 73 75
216 Morgan Phillips 71 71 74
219 David Konzani 71 76 72
221 Lawrence Franklin 77 69 75; Mark O’Brien 74 74 73; Roy van Blerk 72 73 76; Robin Ashby 70 76 75