The 2016 National Senior Masters Championship got underway this morning, as 192 of the finest senior golfers from Australia & New Zealand took to the Moonah layout hoping to get their respective campaigns off to a strong start.
Favorable conditions greeted both the morning & afternoon fields, with sunny breaks & moderate to light winds sweeping across the par 72 Greg Norman designed layout for the majority of the first round.The relatively benign conditions ensured good scoring in both the morning & afternoon fields.
Defending champion John Wheeler (The National), set the tone for the day with a crisply struck pitching wedge on the 8th hole finding the bottom of the cup for his fourth career hole-in-one in competition.
In the nett championship, a three way tie at the top of the leaderboard sees Bill Van Noordennen (Commercial Albury), Hilltop’s John Keller & interstate visitor Darryl Hearsch (Manly) sharing the round one honours with nett scores of 69.
In the race for the ‘green jacket’, The National local Simon Bracegirdle fired a blistering 3 under par round of 69 to take the early advantage by three strokes. It was a round that ‘could have been’ for last year’s championship runner-up, who sat -4 through 13 holes before a late bogey stalled Bracegirdle’s momentum.
In second place sits the recently crowned NSW Senior Amateur Champion Stefan Albinski (Mona Vale) who fired a solid round of even par 72. Nett championship leader Hearsch is outright third after a round of 73.
Second round action moves to the famed Robert Trent Jones Jnr Old Course tomorrow, as the field moves through to the halfway point of this year’s championship.
To view full results, progressive leaderboards, detailed weather forecast & photos, click here.