Pretoria amateur William Skinner is ready for another fast finish on the South African senior circuit after he romped to his first provincial victory at the second Otway Hayes Senior Classic at Zwartkop Country Club on Sunday.
The 54-year-old Gauteng North player fired a superb four-under-par 67 at his home course to win by four strokes on two-under-par 140.
Randpark’s Schalk Naude, who lifted the Ekurhuleni Senior Open title last week, finished second with rounds of 76 and 58, while Christo Reynecke from Lichtenburg Golf Club edged out local player Christie Le Roux for third on 146 with rounds of 71 and 75.
After coming close a few times this season, Skinner hoped the home course advantage would finally pay off, but thought he trailed by two strokes from Akasia’s Christie le Roux and Koro Creek’s Giel van Wyk after an opening two over 73.
“I didn’t play badly in the first round, but I just didn’t make any birdies,” Skinner said. “I had two bogeys and 16 pars. I knew I had to make some birdies in the final round if I wanted to challenge.”
The final round turned into a tightly contested affair with nearly 20 players within four shots of the lead contesting for glory.
Skinner threw his name in the hat with birdies at the first, third and fourth holes and improved his chances with birdie number four at the seventh.
He turned in four under and stumbled with bogeys at the 11th and 14th, but rallied down the home straight with birdies at the 16th and 18th to claim a breakthrough victory.
“We had a lot of rain overnight and the course was playing very long,” the GFG Academy player said. “I was striking the ball really well in the final round and I missed just one fairway. That made the difference.
“This is my first win since I started playing provincial golf four years ago. I’ve had a number of second place finishes, so I’m absolutely thrilled get the monkey off my back.”
Skinner represented Gauteng North at two Indwe SA Senior Inter-Provincials since he joined the senior amateur circuit in 2000.
“I was selected to the team this year, but I was unable to compete and I was really disappointed to miss the SA IPT,” he said. “This makes up for the SA IPT and hopefully I can carry this form into the weekend and finish the season on a really high note.”
Reigning Indwe Risk Services South African Senior Amateur Stroke Play champion, Mellette Hendrikse, will lead a field packed with 2014 champions in the season-finale Limpopo Senior Open at the Koro Creek Golf Estate from 22-23 November.
TOP 10 RESULTS
140 William Skinner 73 68
144 Schalk Naude: 76 68
145 Christo Reynecke 73 72
146 Christie le Roux: 71 75
147 Leon Scheepers: 79 68; Ben Kleynhans 74 73
148 Bruno van Eck 75 73; Etienne Groenewald 74 74; Jannie Schutte 74 74
149 Robin Ashby 75 74; Alex Anderson 75 74