Big Names for SA Senior Open
In less than a month we will be seeing some of the Sunshine Tour’s greatest names descending on Plettenberg Bay to play in the 2017 edition of the SA Senior Open Hosted by Bitou Municipality and in association with the Endangered Wildlife Trust. Fulton Allem, Mark McNulty, John Bland, Hugh Baiocchi, Chris Williams, Bobby Lincoln and Roger Wessels will all be competing for the SA Senior Tour’s (SAST) biggest prize purse since 1997. Alongside them for the Pro-Am will also be Sally Little, a legend in her own right being a two-time major winner and totalling 15 LPGA career wins.
In Allem, Baiocchi and Bland you have the winners of 3 consecutive SA Masters from 1988 to 1990, with only David Frost in 1987 (still a possible competitor) standing between making it four as McNulty won it twice in 1985 and ’86.
Neville Clarke from SAST explained what having these players means; “These players bring significant prestige and interest to the SA Senior Open, suddenly everyone over 50 wants to compete not only for the prize money, but the opportunity to test their game against some golfing greats!”
The above-mentioned names are big drawcards, but you can be sure that players such as Gavan Levenson a former SA PGA Championship and SA Open champion as well as Robbie Stewart will also be throwing their names into the hat for the R500 000 prize purse come 14 March 2017 when entries close. The SAST will also remember Simon Hobday at the event, who unfortunately passed away recently and will be sorely missed by the entire golfing community.
When you think of players such as McNulty, Allem, Baiocchi, Bland, Wessels and Levenson who a have 90 South African/Sunshine Tour wins and the possibility of adding Dennis Watson and David Frost to the field and you can see why Bitou Municipality were so excited to have the event come to their famous South African coastal town.
Barry Cohen, Head of the South African Golf Hall of Fame, whose annual Gala Banquet will tie in with the events proceedings and be held at Equinox Fire and Flame on Wednesday 5 April, further emphasises what it means for the event, “These players truly are some of the biggest names in our sport, having consistently produced both on the local tour as well as going on to succeed on both the European and PGA regular and senior Tours!”
There are still limited spots available for amateurs in the Pro-Am, to be played on 4th and 5th April, but they are filling up fast.
The tournament is a 72 hole stroke play competition with a pro-am teams event on the first 2 days. 72 Professionals and qualified amateurs will team up with the 72 amateurs that enter the teams event for the first 2 days. The dates for the event are 4-7 April 2017 and the Plettenberg Bay course is in superb condition as well as being a good test especially in the wind.