The final round of the 2015 National Senior Masters produced a barrage of fine scores to draw to a close the sixth annual edition of the event. In what turned out to be the most difficult day of the tournament, both the Moonah and Ocean courses were in action with the players surviving the overnight cut taking to the Ocean Course for the Championship proper and the remainder of the field taking to the Moonah course with both fields facing a true test of links golf.
On the Moonah course, the daily scratch winner was Stephen Cann (Pambula Merimbula) with a round of 77. Daryl Pobjoy (Thirteenth Beach) brought home the best nett score of the final round on the Moonah course a 72 nett off a 7 handicap. For the players on the Ocean course, local member Simon Bracegirdle shot an excellent 75 to win on a countback from Ian McPherson (Joondalup) and Murray Brown (Russley NZ).
In the championship field, John Wheeler a local National member became the sixth player to win the ‘green jacket’ after finishing with a 77 on the Par 72 Ocean Course overtaking yesterday’s leader Barry Tippett to take this year’s title by 3 shots.
Wheeler played steady during the final round, carding a one-over first nine of 36 to position himself as the leader heading into the back nine. He broke away from his nearest challenges Ian Frost (Bendigo) and overnight leader Barry Tippett (Thirteenth Beach) and managed to keep them at bay surviving a late charge by defending champion Tippett over the last few holes. Three rounds of 70, 74 and 77 gave Wheeler a total of 221 with Tippett, Frost and Bracegirdle a further three shots back in a tie for second place on 224.
Wheeler clearly had the support of the local crowd behind him, with twelve carts following his group down the last hole and an ever growing gallery on the balcony of the clubhouse making it a popular win.
In the nett championship, Andrew Hurwitz (New South Wales) was this year’s winner with nett rounds of 72, 74 & 74. Hurwitz’s total nett score of 220 saw him take this year’s nett title by one stroke from three players who were Steven Wallace (The National), Darryl Hearsch (Manly-NSW) and Russell Simmons (Spring Valley).
All three National layouts provided a stern test for this year’s field of 192 players who came from all over Victoria, interstate and overseas to compete this week in this prestigious Golf Australia senior rankings event. This tournament since its inception in 2010 has always produced top quality golf with Wheeler now adding himself to the honour roll of champions.
In terms of the venue, The National Golf Club could be Australia’s golf ‘mecca’ with all three courses Moonah, Ocean and Old rated #8, #10 & #30 respectively in Australia. 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 fierce this year with 19 of the top 25 Golf Australia ranked seniors competing for the title, undoubtedly the strongest field in the events history.
Golf Victoria would like to thank the National Golf Club for the hospitality the club provided to all players which was first class.
The 2016 event will take place from Tuesday 12 to Thursday 14 April with many players already looking forward to coming back next year!.
To view full results click here.