Question: What do Bernhard Langer, Sunshine Tour Executive Director Selwyn Nathan and Randpark’s own Jock Wellington have in common.
Answer: They all equalled their age in February. The 64-year-old German birdie machine shot an absolutely fabulous 64 on his way to winning the Chubb Classic on the PGA Champions Tour, 71-year-old Nathan posted a 71 (and then beat his age with a 69) at Fancourt during the week of the Dimension Data Pro-Am, and sweet-swinging 71-year-old Wellington carded a second-round 71 in the Central Gauteng Senior Open at Modderfontein, before matching that number here at Randpark on Firethorn.
These two 71s were the first time Wellington has managed to shoot his age following what has been perhaps the greatest South African senior amateur career of any player. After turning 50 in 2001, Jock was SA number one in the senior amateur ranks for a highly impressive 12 straight years. He is a three-time SA Senior Open champion, has represented South Africa multiple times and Central Gauteng every year since turning 50 up until the present. Recently he tried to remember how many senior amateur wins he has had over the years. “I don’t know exactly what the number is, but it’s at least 52,” he said. And he has had no less than 10 holes-in-one.
“The 71 at Modderfontein meant I had to birdie my last hole, the difficult ninth, against the wind. But somehow I managed to do so,” Jock says. “Then at Firethorn, I was again heading for a possible 71 as I was one-under through 13. But I then dropped a shot at the par-5 14th where, if anything, you look to pick up one.” But then he birdied what is considered the hardest hole on the course (the par-4, stroke one 16th). “I hit drive, rescue onto the green and nailed the putt,” he explained.
Wellington says having an extremely positive attitude is key to good golf. “So many people talk about having bad luck out on the course. Not me. I only believe in good luck!” Now that’s something to think about …
Incidentally, two other Randpark golfers shone in the 36-hole Central Gauteng Senior Open. Schalk Naude (like Jock a man who just keeps playing well as the years go by) finished second on 144, two back of winner Johan Krugel of Rustenburg GC, while Sean Quigly tied for 13th on 150.
The amazing Langer, by the way, has now recorded 43 PGA Tour Champion victories, 11 of these Senior Majors. Since turning 50 in 2007, he has won at least once every year on the tour. And Selwyn ‘Nate’ Nathan still manages to play some pretty good golf in between doing his part in running the Sunshine Tour. During the Di-Data he scored 71 on Montagu on February 9 and then four days later beat his age with a 69, also on Montagu. ‘Nate’ first broke his age last June at Killarney when, aged 71, he posted a superb 68.
Written by Randpark’s Grant Winter.