Senger gets his win – at last!
Having been denied in a playoff four times the last two years, including twice last season, 18-year-old Ayden Senger finally grabbed his first national title when he edged out Luka Stanislavijevic – again in extra holes – to claim the Nomads National Order of Merit Coastal 1 at Mount Edgecombe.
Senger and Stanislavijevic started the day four shots back of overnight leader Cole Stevens, but the Senger quickly reeled in the GolfRSA National Squad member with a run of five straight birdies from the third hole.
However, he gave shots back on the ninth and 12th holes, which gave Stanislavijevic a chance to catch up. The Blue Valley golfer birdied the par four 13th and set the clubhouse target with a flawless three-under-par 67.
Once again Senger forced a tournament into extra time when he holed a clutch putt on 18 for 67.
“Luca won the toss and teed off first. He hit his drive a touch left into the rough. I realised he wouldn’t have an easy shot from there over the water short left of the green to a pin back left and I knew I needed to trust my drive,” explained Senger.
“I smashed it right down the middle. It was probably the best drive I’ve hit my career. When his second shot flew the green and left him with a tough chip, I knew I could do it. I just needed to hit it to the middle of the green and I executed my second shot perfectly. When his chip ran about 16 feet past, I lagged my first putt give and popped the par-putt in for the win.
“In the last two years, I was beaten in play-offs four times in national amateur events and I also lost in a play-off on the Bridge Fund Managers Juniors Series last year. I was determined not to let any negative thoughts cloud my judgement. Before the playoff I just told myself to focus on the golf and not think about anything that had happened in the past.
“It feels amazing to having finally have a national win under my belt. It was one of my goals for the past two years so I’m delighted to have achieved it. Right at the start of the new season. I believe I still have more trophies to collect, because I have some more goals to achieve.”
“I really hope to crack the nod for the GolfRSA National Squad and I desperately want secure a return trip to Japan to have another stab at the Toyota Junior Golf World Cup. It was amazing to share in the excitement when our Junior Proteas won last year, and it would be a dream come true if I can make the team for Japan again.”
Boland’s Hezron Frieslaar, who led the first round and Stevens, the 36-hole leader, finished in a tie for third, with Christiaan Maas, who shot a final round of 66 sharing fifth with Nico Booysens, Lyle Pedro and Ivan Verster.