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Nelson Mandela Bay Classic
11th – 13th May 2021
Humewood – Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth)
Thursday, 13 May 2021
Williams given Major boost with Nelson Mandela Bay Classic win
GQEBERHA – Chris Williams gave himself the perfect preparation for the upcoming US Senior PGA Championship at the end of May when he won the Nelson Mandela Bay Classic by a single stroke on the Sunshine Senior Tour at Humewood Golf Club on Thursday.
Williams closed with a round of 69 to win on three-under-par 213. He finished one stroke clear of Neil Cheetham who signed for a final round of 71. André Cruse, who battled Williams for the lead on the back nine, finished third on one-under 215 after a 71.
The timing of the victory couldn’t have been better for Williams. At the end of this month both he and James Kingston will travel to Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to play in the US Senior PGA Championship.
“It’s nice to have won like this just before you leave for a Major like that,” said Williams, who recently finished second to Kingston in the South African Senior Open.
“I won a small senior event at the beginning of the year. But this is my first big one since winning the South African Senior Open a couple of years ago. I haven’t hit the ball as well as I did for a long time. I’ve put new shafts in my irons and I was knocking the flagsticks out. And it was also great to beat such a quality field,” he said of a field that included several former Sunshine Tour campaigners who have recently joined the Sunshine Senior Tour ranks.
“We’ve got a lot of former Sunshine Tour players on the Sunshine Senior Tour now and the standard is very high. Then you look at the quality of golfers who are just about to become seniors, like a Keith Horne and an Adilson da Silva, and you realise we’re going to have a very competitive Sunshine Senior Tour in the future with so many star players coming through.”
Wednesday, 12 May 2021
Cheetham and Scheepers chasing glory in Nelson Mandela Bay Classic
GQEBERHA – Former European Tour professional Neil Cheetham battled a typically strong Humewood wind to shoot one of only four sub-par rounds on day two of the Sunshine Senior Tour’s Nelson Mandela Bay Classic on Wednesday, giving him a share of the lead with Centurion golfer Gerhard Scheepers.
Cheetham signed for a 71 while Scheepers produced the low round of the day with a 69 to see them tied for the lead on one-under-par 143 through 36 holes of this 54-hole tournament.
They are one stroke clear of the vastly experienced trio of Chris Williams, André Cruse and James Kingston. Kingston was the overnight leader but struggled to a 75 on Wednesday, while Williams posted a 73 and Cruse a 74.
The only other two players in the field who managed to break par on Wednesday were Mark McNulty and Doug McGuigan who both posted rounds of 71 to finish the day tied seventh on two over par.
“It was blowing four or five clubs at times. I can honestly say it was some of the most difficult conditions I can ever remember playing in. It was pure survival out there,” said Cheetham, who grew up playing links golf in England.
“Your ball flight and the shape of your shots was of vital importance. I think the most difficult thing was committing to certain shots, like instead of hitting an eight iron you’re now hitting a five iron the same distance when the wind is blowing like that.”
But Cheetham said he enjoyed the challenge posed by the typical links conditions.
“It brings out the shot-making in you, and stimulates your imagination with shots. It takes me back to my European Tour days and having to see shots and commit to shots.”
Scheepers, who plays most of his golf on the highveld, did exceptionally well with his 69 in conditions that are quite foreign to him.
“The wind blew from the moment we teed off until the end of the round. I just decided that I wasn’t going to fight the wind all day and would just try and keep my ball in play,” he said.
And his short game carried him to the top of the leaderboard.
“My putting saved me today. There were a couple of times where I made some big putts for par. I’m just going to try and do the same in the final round. I don’t want to think too much about it actually, especially not when I look at the experience of the professionals I’m playing with.”
Experience will certainly be the key in Thursday’s final round.
“You know, the conditions could be different again,” said Cheetham. “But that’s where the experience comes in. You need to keep an open mind and see what tomorrow brings.”
Tuesday, 11 May 2021
Kingston takes the lead in Nelson Mandela Bay Classic
GQEBERHA – James Kingston continued where he left off on the Sunshine Senior Tour as he opened with a three-under-par 69 to lead the first round of the R500 000 Nelson Mandela Bay Classic at Humewood Golf Club on Tuesday.
Kingston, who recently defended his South African Senior Open title, leads by one shot over André Cruse and Roger Wessels.
The leaderboard remains tight thereafter as well, with Michael Scholz and Chris Williams well placed following their opening rounds of one-under 71. Amateur Muyanda Zingela made a good start to join Callie Swart and Neil Cheetham with rounds of level-par 72. And Mark McNulty, one of the biggest names in a quality field this week, signed for a three-over-par 75 in his first competitive round in several weeks.
Kingston was delighted with his start to this 54-hole tournament on a day when the classic Humewood links was in a forgiving mood.
“I would’ve taken a start of three under if you’d offered it to me before the tournament. The conditions were decent on my first nine and then the wind picked up a little bit, which just made it tricky enough to test us. But it’s always just such a pleasure coming back to what has always been a great golf course, and to the city of Gqeberha as well,” he said.
Kingston played Humewood’s back nine first and bogeyed his opening hole. But then he made back-to-back birdies at holes 15 and 16 followed by an eagle on the 17th where he holed his pitch shot. Another loose shot on the second led to a double bogey there, but again Kingston pulled it back with three more birdies against just one bogey over the closing holes.
Kingston clearly used the competitive edge he gained by competing against the young stars on the Sunshine Tour and European Challenge Tour over the past three weeks.
“Obviously it’s nice to be able to compete with the young guys on the Sunshine Tour and it keeps the game sharp and the competitive juices flowing, even though it’s tough to beat the youngsters of today. But it’s nice to play with that next generation, and then come out here and play with your old fellow pros.
“It’s always nice to see all the old faces, and to see somebody like Mark McNulty out here still competing is great. There are so many of these players I grew up playing golf with, and to share the fairways with them on our only proper links, which is in pristine condition, is just a wonderful feeling.”
Monday, 10 May 2021
McNulty and Kingston lead strong field for Nelson Mandela Bay Classic
GQEBERHA – Mark McNulty and James Kingston will headline a strong field of senior golfers who will gather at Humewood Golf Club this week for the R500 000 Nelson Mandela Bay Classic on the Sunshine Senior Tour, which tees off on Tuesday.
McNulty is making his first appearance on the Sunshine Senior Tour this year, while Kingston heads to Humewood on the back of successfully defending his South African Senior Open title. Between them, McNulty and Kingston have 75 professional victories and 10 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit titles.
And both are relishing the opportunity to test their games against a quality field and on a classic links layout such as Humewood.
“I haven’t played Humewood for about 25 to 30 years now, so it’s going to be great going back to what has always been a great golf course. From what I hear the course is in unbelievable condition, so I’m really looking forward to it,” said McNulty.“I haven’t played much golf at all, so I think this week is going to be a good test for me to see where I’m at.”
Kingston is equally excited about this week’s challenge.
“Going back to Humewood is always nice. Over the years we’ve had some great tournaments there and it’s one of those challenging golf courses you look forward to going back to. It’s nice to win anywhere, but to win a tournament on a classic course like that would be special,” he said.
Kingston will certainly have an edge over his fellow senior competitors as he’s spent the last three weeks competing against the young stars in the Sunshine Tour and European Challenge Tour co-sanctioned tournaments that have been hosted in South Africa. But he’s refusing to get ahead of himself.
“I’ve been playing decent golf, but you’ve still got to play the golf and put the numbers on the board. Even though I feel I’ve been competitive, I’ve still got to play well there,” he said.
The field is one of the strongest on the Sunshine Senior Tour, including a multitude of former Sunshine Tour, Sunshine Senior Tour and Legends Tour champions such as Chris Williams, Doug McGuigan, Ben Fouché, André Cruse, Grant Muller, Michael Scholz, Callie Swart, Nic Henning, Chris Davison and Mokgeteng Mashego.
“We’re absolutely delighted with the field for this year’s Nelson Mandela Bay Classic and the incredible support we’ve received from the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and all the partners in making this dream a reality,” said Neville Clarke, the Chief Operating Officer of the Sunshine Senior Tour.
“This is really one of our strongest fields ever assembled, which is a testament to the growth of the Sunshine Senior Tour. I think Humewood is going to be a fantastic test as we return to a true classic with some of Southern African golf’s classic stars of the game.”
JAMES KINGSTON STROLLS TO VICTORY AT THE 2021 SA SENIOR OPEN
Friday, 9 April 2021
PLETTENBERG BAY – James Kingston successfully defended his 2019 SA Senior Open title as he held off Chris Williams to claim the title for the second time in his career.
Kingston, who also won the SA Open title in 2007, was full of smiles as he finished as the leader of the pack on the final day at Plettenberg Bay Country Club. Winning the SA Senior Open for the second time meant a great deal to James, “it was gratifying after working so hard at my game, which I can feel is taking shape. It’s also special to see old friends again and players who I’ve have known for many years”.
Kingston defended his title 5 shots ahead of runner up Chris Williams, who has finished second to James in the last two SA Senior Opens.
Neville Clarke, Chief Operating Officer of the Sunshine Senior Tour, thanked all the sponsors, particularly the Bitou Municipality for supporting the tournament for the fourth time. Clarke added, “a huge thank you to Bitou Municipality for their continued help and support. We love to come here and this really is the highlight on our calendar. We hope to come here again for many years to come”.
Bitou Municipality Deputy Mayor, Sandiso Gcabayi, spoke glowingly of the tournament and the benefits it brings to the region, stating “the golfers are not only here to play golf, but also give work to the people in the region and supporting the local businesses, which is wonderful to have”.
Kingston also thanked Bitou on behalf of the players and said how thrilled they all were that the tournament continues to return to Plettenberg Bay every year.
The Sunshine Senior Tour now heads to Nelson Mandela Bay for the NMB Classic which will be held at Humewood Golf Club from the 11th to the 13th of May.
SA SENIOR OPEN ROUND 2 SCORES – TOP 5
-13 James Kingston 67, 71, 68, 69 Total 275
-8 Chris Williams 75, 67, 71, 67 Total 280
-1 Grant Muller 75, 67, 70, 75 Total 288
0 Doug McGuigan 70, 72, 73, 73 Total 289
+1 Peter Wilson 74, 68, 75, 72 Total 290
JAMES KINGSTON ON TRACK TO DEFEND SA SENIOR OPEN TITLE
Thursday, 8 April 2021
PLETTENBERG BAY – After the third round of the South African Senior Open, defending champion James Kingston is 6 shots ahead of nearest rival Grant Muller – shooting a solid 4-under par 68 to lie -10 after the three days.
The day’s play started one hour late due to foggy conditions in the Plettenberg Bay Valley. Kingston got off to a slow start with one over after 2 holes. However, he clawed his way back with back-to-back birdies at holes 9 and 10. A topsy turvy round led to a double bogey on the 12th, but he turned
it around with an eagle on the par 4 14th, the second time this week that James eagled the hole. This seemed to settle things with him finishing with birdies on holes 16 and 18, where he had a great bunker shot.
“From nowhere I made a terrible mistake with the double bogey on the 12th. Today wasn’t the best I struck the ball this week but I got a good feeling on the back 9”, Kingston added.
Placed 2nd following a round 3 score of 70, Grant Muller had an up-and-down round with 3 birdies and a bogey. On heading into the final day, Muller added, “It was great to play with Chris Williams and Rodger Wessels who I’ve looked up to for many years. It’s going to be a tough call to stay in touch with James being 6 shots ahead of me, but I will give it my best shot.”
Chris Williams moved up the leaderboard to 3rd position and was heading for a good round with 3 birdies on the first 9, until he made a double bogey on the 15th. Commenting on the conditions Chris says, “the pin placings were tricky and the greens were quicker, but fortunately there was not too much wind”. He finished on a one under par 71.
The final day will be a fitting climax to the most important event on the Sunshine Senior Tour calendar, which wasn’t played last year due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Day 4 tees off at 08:00 on Friday morning with low winds and partly cloudy. Catch all the daily highlights of the SA Senior Open on the Sunshine Senior Tour Facebook page.
SA SENIOR OPEN ROUND 2 SCORES – TOP 6
-10 James Kingston 67, 71, 68
-4 Grant Muller 75, 67, 70
-3 Chris Williams 75, 67, 71
-1 Doug McGuigan 70, 72, 73
+1 Rodger Wessels 71, 72, 74
+1 Peter Wilson 74, 68, 75
JAMES KINGSTON MAINTAINS LEAD ON SECOND DAY OF THE SA SENIOR OPEN
Wednesday, 7 April 2021
PLETTENBERG BAY – James Kingston maintained his Day 1 form as he maintained the lead after the second day of the SA Senior Open.
Day 2 of the SA Senior Open teed off on a bright, crispy morning, led by overnight leader, James Kingston. The defending champion did not lift his foot off the throttle on the front 9 as he cruised his way to a 2-under back nine. He did endure a nervy back 9 after he fired in a 9 on the par 5 15th. He still managed to finish the day on 71 to head into the third day with a 5-shot lead.
Kingston added “I had a decent day up until a certain point, I was really playing nicely and got up to 4-under par with two par fives to go, and the
unfortunately on the 15th I made a 9. That ruined the day and the card for me a little bit. I just had to deal with it now and go on and see what I can do tomorrow.
Doug Mcguigan retained second place although now tied with Peter Wilson, Grant Muller and Chris Williams after shooting level par for the day. Peter Wilson started the day in fine form with 3 birdies on the front 9 and 2 birdies on the back 9, with his only blemish being a bogey on the 4th.
Grant Muller managed to go one better shooting a classy 5-under. He started the day in seventh yet started strong with 2-under on the front nine. He then bogeyed the 11th but bounced right back with 4 consecutive birdies to finish the day on 5-under to move up to second overall.
2014 SA Open winner Chris Williams had the most impressive outing of the day, with a bogey free round complemented by 5 birdies to put himself into contention heading into moving day.
“Today was definitely a much better day”, Williams said. “I maintained the same game plan as yesterday, just that I felt that I chipped and putted a little better today and had very few mistakes off the tee”.
Conditions on Day 2 were much kinder to the golfers, generally described as lovely and easier, with the top 10 of the field scoring much higher than the previous day’s outing.
Day 2 sees off the last day for the amateurs, with the professional golfers describing it as a special experience playing alongside the amateurs. With Day 3 around the corner, James Kingston is the one to beat for the 2021 edition.
A competitive Day 3 awaits as the 63 man filed aims to lift the Denis Hutchinson trophy and the largest share of the R500 000 prize fund.
SA SENIOR OPEN ROUND 2 SCORES – TOP 5
-6 James Kingston 67, 71
-2 Doug Mcguigan 70, 72
-2 Peter Wilson 74, 68
-2 Chris Williams 75, 67
-2 Grant Muller 75, 67
JAMES KINGSTON TAKES THE EARLY LEAD AT THE SA SENIOR OPEN
Tuesday, 6 April 2021
PLETTENBERG BAY – James Kingston started in the best way possible on Tuesday as he aims to defend his 2019 title at the SA Senior Open. His round of five under 67 saw him take lead on the opening round of the picturesque Plettenberg Bay Country Club.
Hosted by Bitou Municipality, the 2021 edition of the SA Senior Open teed off after a one-year hiatus owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. The tournament is the pinnacle for golfers competing on the Sunshine Senior Tour with a prize fund of R500 000. The Tour itself features some of the best golfers to have played on the Sunshine Tour in recent memory and is exclusive for golfers over the age of 50.
Day 1 began in warm but breezy conditions with James Kingston setting the tone, firing in 6 birdies and a 2-shot eagle on the 14th to end the day a on 5-under 67. James has won 11 times on the Sunshine Tour, four times on the Asian Tour, twice on the European Tour and has four Senior Tour titles to his name.
Durban born Doug Mcguigan, who won the 2020 Sunshine Senior Tour Order of Merit in 2020, ended the day in second with a 2-under 70 in a near perfect day which only saw him mark one bogey. Roger Wessels meanwhile came in at third following a topsy turvy 71 which saw 4 bogeys and five birdies.
The back 9 and afternoon conditions seemed to be kinder to the golfers, with 14 golfers marking par or under, while only Kingston scoring under par on the front nine.
A number of star names have missed out on the 2021 tournament due to the pandemic. The event though still features a strong lineup of champions from yesteryear, including notable names such as Andre Cruse, Chris Williams and Nic Henning.
The first day of the tournament saw the pros playing in a Pro-Am format with 65 professionals playing alongside 65 amateurs. Day 2 will continue in the same format with Thursday and Friday featuring only the pros.
Day 2 tees off at 08:00 on Wednesday morning with low winds and overcast conditions. Catch all the daily highlights of the SA Senior Open on the Sunshine Senior Tour Facebook page.
SA SENIOR OPEN ROUND 1 SCORES – TOP 5
-5 James Kingston 67
-2 Doug Mcguigan 70
-1 Roger Wessels 71
+3 Eddie Joubert ; Johan Wolfaardt 75
About the Sunshine Senior Tour
The Sunshine Senior Tour is a partnership between the SA Senior Tour and the Sunshine Tour under a license agreement for professional members aged 50 and older in South Africa. The tour structure aims to provide a competitive tournament schedule to accommodate the membership and grow senior professional golf in SA.
The South African Senior Open has emerged strong amidst the ashes of the Coronavirus pandemic, and will take place for the fourth time on the magnificent golf course of the Plettenberg Bay Country Club from 6 to 9 April 2021.
2019, ‘struck off’ the world chart by the pandemic, led to historic annual events such as the Olympic Games been cancelled, likewise the SA Senior Open – a highlight of the over 50s golfing calendar.
On form to defend his 2019 title is James Kingston, who won the tournament with a score of 280 – a superb performance with a nine-shot victory.
James has won 11 times on the Sunshine Tour, four times on the Asian Tour, twice on the European Tour and has three Senior Tour titles to his name. A time he remembers well was a narrow loss in the semi-final of the SA Amateur to Ernie Els.
Even though Mark McNulty, who has won the SA Open twice will not be participating, a strong field of 65 senior professionals will be competing for the Denis Hutchinson SA Senior Open trophy over four days of golf. The first two days will be supported by a complement of 126 amateurs.
Although spectators will be sorely missed due to the Covid-19 level 1 restrictions, the tournament will be covered on Supersport television.
The Plettenberg Bay Country Club golf course is in top condition and the management and members are proud of its playability and are honored to be hosting this event at the jewel of the Garden Route.
Funded by the Bitou Municipality whose Mayor, Mismboti Peter Lobese, believes that the tournament has provided an economic boost to the Plett hospitality industry and has showcased the worldclass destination’s valuable natural assets. It also helps raise funds for the Mayoral Bursary Fund which was established to support disadvantaged students wanting to enroll for tertiary education.
Also backing the event is Plett Tourism and CEO Patty Butterworth says that their #SafeTravels campaign has been reinforcing safety protocols with local businesses to encourage safe holidays for the community and visitors.
Other sponsors and partners that have made the SA Senior Open possible include:
– The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) whose conservation activities include the promotion of saving a host of threatened species;
– Accelerate Sport’s role has been to elevate the Sunshine Senior Tour to a new level;
– Seeff Plettenberg Bay; and
– Barrington’s Plettenberg Bay.
The 2021 AGM was held recently at the Centurion Golf Estate on 9 March. The event was attended by 27 members and the Agenda was completed by the election of a new Players’ Advisory Committee.
Fourteen members contested for the eight places available by ballot and we are pleased to announce their names:
- Chris Davison
- Paul Marks
- Craig Frauenstein
- Derek Ferreira
- Grant Muller
- Kenneth Dube
- Nic Henning
- Henry Roodt
The Senior Tour Board remains the same as for 2020 with the exception of two members from the PAC or PC to be announced soon.
The minutes of this meeting will be ratified by the Board when it next meets in April.
The pertinent points from the meeting:
- Condolences to Jan Ackerman and others who passed away in 2020
- The Chairman delivered his report in the AGM members folder handed out at the meeting.
- Members can always request an electronic copy to be sent to them
- The SAST management pledged improved administrative and operating functions in 2021
- The consideration to increase the tournament entry fee for Fidelity and other events supporting prize funds of R50k-R100k was rejected
- Resolutions were adopted to revise tournament prize fund distribution and pay-outs, as found in the AGM folder
- Subscriptions were held the same as for 2020; Regular Member R1600 and Affiliate Member R4400
- The audited financials were presented and requests from the floor was for delivery of the same to be copied to members before the meeting
- The SA Senior Open would be confirmed for play for the dates 06-09 April 2021 only once the funds land in the Senior Tour bank account
- The same applies to the Nelson Mandela Bay Classic for PE the week later
- We expect Fidelity to continue sponsorship with the Senior Tour after their Board meeting later in March
- A draft Event Schedule was given to all and explained it as a working document.
- Sun International will play a big part in our schedule starting with a Sun City Event in early June. Perhaps there will also be a May event with SI if the NMBC is delayed
- The Race to Wild Coast Sun was explained with the event scheduled for 18-20 November
- Bornfree Civils at Orkney will again take place 1-3 October
- We are working with the Legends Tour to create a co-sanctioned event in the last week of November
- The website is under construction and hopefully will be rearranged for more effective navigation
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