MELLETTE Hendrikse’s victory in the Vaal Senior Amateur at Maccauvlei made it three wins in three starts in 2015 for the 54-year-old from Akasia Country Club who – not surprisingly – tops the national order of merit.
“Unfortunately I can’t play all the tournaments because unlike some of the other senior players I’m still very much a working man,” says Hendrikse who is operations manager of the Gauteng North Golf Union.
“So I’ll be missing the three tournaments in the Eastern Cape at the end of June and beginning of July (the Border event at East London GC, the Eastern Cape event at Port Elizabeth GC and the EP Senior Open at St Francis Bay) which is a pity because I love all those golf courses.”
For the record, Hendrikse took the honours at Maccauvlei with rounds of 71 and 72 for 143, with Wingate Park’s Rinus van Niekerk runner-up on 148 and Christo Reyneke (Lichtenburg GC), Conrad de Beer (Kimberley GC) and Gerhard Blaauw (CCJ) sharing third place on 149.
And aside from the three senior amateur wins, Hendrikse’s proudest moment this year was shooting a sizzling 65 en route to lifting the Gauteng North Closed title “against all the lighties” at Wingate Park.
So is it plenty of practice that keeps him at the top of the senior rankings?
“Practice? I don’t get a chance to do much practice with all the work commitments and a wife at home who likes to see me now and again, although if I do have a little time to spare, I head straight for the putting green because if you can putt you can win,” he says.
And what’s the key to still playing well at 54 without being able to work hard on his game? “I believe it’s a lot to do with keeping the ball in play, not taking too many chances and carefully thinking my way around the golf course.
“And I think with all my experience I’m able to handle the pressure well –like the last nine holes of a tournament or a play-off. The first two wins this year (in the Gauteng North and Central Gauteng Senior Opens) were in play-offs (against Gerhard Strydom and Lawrence Franklin respectively). If I remember correctly I’ve been in five play-offs as a senior and never lost one.”
Henrikse won six times last year on the senior circuit including the flagship SA Senior Amateur at Pecanwood. Don’t bet against him bagging another six this year. This man is a birdie-bagging golfing machine.