As anticipated, the final round of the 2016 National Senior Masters went right down to the wire. As it stood overnight, The National’s Simon Bracegirdle held a slim two shot lead over both Gordon Claney (Kingston Heath) and Ian Frost (Bendigo) with both Bracegirdle and Frost looking to go one better in 2016 after both players finished tied runners-up in the 2015 event.
On the Moonah course, the daily scratch winner was South Australian visitor Craig Martin (The Grange) with a closing round of 76. The final rounds best nett score of the consolation field was Mark Meek with a nett score of 69 from a handicap of 12. For the players on the Ocean course, the best daily scratch score was Mona Vale’s Stefan Albinski who fired a closing round of 74. Kooringal’s Brian Spalding took home the final rounds best nett score with a round of 70.
In the nett championship, Peninsula Kingswood’s Peter Bence fired three consistent nett rounds of 73, 71 and 72 to finish atop the leaderboard with a three round nett total of 216. New South Wales visitor Peter Good (The Lakes) finished in second place via a countback from overnight nett leader Tony Briers (The National) with a three round nett total of 217.
In the championship field, as the final round progressed it was clear the race for the ‘green jacket’ would come down to the final few holes of the championship. Bracegirdle began his final round strongly, heading out in one under par 35 over the front nine. Whilst Frost and Claney left themselves with plenty of work to do on the back nine with front nine’s of 39 and 41 respectively. Bracegirdle began the back nine poorly with two opening bogey’s which gave both Frost and Claney a sniff.
Frost seized the opportunity, finishing the back nine strong closing with a 36 to Bracegirdle’s 41 to leave the two tied at the conclusion of the 54th hole on a total score of 220. Claney finished in fourth position on 223 with Albinski sneaking into third place overall after his fine final round.
As both Bracegirdle and Frost headed to the par-5 1st hole of the Ocean Course for the first sudden death playoff in the events history, both were in a position to go ‘one better’ then their tied runner-up finish from 2015, whilst the other would be consigned to bride’s maid honors once again.
Both fired tee shots which found the fairway, but an indifferent second shot from Bracegirdle gave Frost the upper hand, as he safely hit the green in regulation Bracegirdle was left with a tricky up and down from the front edge of the green to save par
A poor chip left Bracegirdle still outside Frosts’ third shot and when Bracegirdle’s par putt slide by, Frost was left with a simple two putt from ten feet to take this year’s title which the Bendigo local negotiated successfully to be crowned the 2016 National Senior Masters Champion.
All three National layouts provided a stern test for this year's field of 192 players who came from all over Victoria, interstate and New Zealand to take part this week. The tournament since its inception in 2010 has always produced golf of the highest quality and 2016 was no exception.
The 54-hole stroke format incorporates a 36 hole cut with the top 75 players from the stroke standings and top 25 from the nett standings after round two moving on into the championship field for the final round. The competition was again of the highest quality this year, with many of the current top twenty players from the Golf Australia senior rankings competing.
Golf Victoria would like to thank the National Golf Club for the hospitality the club provided to all players which was first class. The 2017 event will take place from Tuesday 4 to Thursday 6 April.
To view full results, championship leaderboards & photos, click here.