Jock Wellington has enjoyed four top six finishes in seven starts on South Africa’s senior amateur circuit this year. But that’s not good enough in the opinion of the 64-year-old from Kyalami Country Club who – wait for it – has enjoyed close to 50 wins in the 14 years he has campaigned as a senior amateur.
“So it hasn’t been a great year in comparison to what’s gone on before, and they’ve pushed me out to a one (handicap),” says Wellington.
But still, even against the senior ‘young guns’ he remains a respectable seventh in the national rankings, and is No 1 by a fair distance among the over-60s group.
He’s won the SA Senior Amateur three times and among the 50-odd victories were seven strokeplay titles inside nine years when there was still an individual component to the SA interprovincial (today it is played under a different format).
Whatever he may say, don’t dismiss Wellington’s chances in this year’s INDWE SA Senior Amateur at Humewood from October 20-23. The man can still shoot the lights out on his day, and don’t be surprised if in the not-too-distant future he matches or beats his age.
He was, meanwhile, among a group of seven South Africans who took part in the British Senior Amateur at iconic Royal Country Down in August. But foul weather scuppered their chances.
“Really heavy rain and big winds hit us hard on day one and the way the draw was done saw most of us South Africans, including myself, getting the worst of it. Even the County Down caddies said they had never seen anything as bad.”
Wellington ended up doing best of the SA contingent, but still missed the 36-hole cut by one. Crucially, a spotter failed to keep tabs on a Wellington shot that went straight over his head and the ensuing lost ball cost Jock a crippling eight on that hole.
“Still, it was a great experience on a wonderful golf course and we had a lot of fun,” said Wellington who was accompanied to Northern Ireland by compatriots Basil Naidoo, Richard Bruyns, Steve Cullen, Colin Hayward, Christo Reyneke and Ben Kleynhans.
A high-scoring tournament on this famous links was won by American Patrick Tallent on 218 with compatriot Matthew Sughrue second on 219.