R&A Senior Amateur Championship 2021
Victory at Glorious Ganton for Gene Elliott
World No1 Senior Amateur Golfer
The 2021 R&A Senior Amateur Championship, played at Ganton from 6th to 9th July, was won by Gene Elliott (USA), currently the World Ranked No1 Senior Amateur Golfer, with a total of 290. His closing two rounds of 70 saw him home by one shot from David Mulholland (Castlerock, Northern Ireland) who finished with rounds of 68 and 70.
Third with 294 was Trevor Foster (Pleasington), who won at Royal Porthcawl in 2018. Tied fourth with 295 were Paul Moultrie (Royal Troon), Andrew Woodhead (Hessle) and Rupert Kellock (Sunningdale).
Gene Elliott has been knocking on the door of a Seniors’ win for some time. He tied for the Championship at North Berwick in 2019, but lost at the third hole in a playoff against fellow countryman Craig Davis. Furthermore he was third at Royal Porthcawl in 2018 and second at Sunningdale in 2017. Quite reasonably therefore, you could say Gene’s time had come. He certainly felt that way aftewards.
“After coming so close the last three championships, I can’t believe I’ve finally won. I’m almost speechless,” said Gene who, in his acceptance speech, said he now has ‘a new favourite golf course’. Praise indeed, considering Gene Elliott is a member at Semilnole, Florida, which hosted this year’s Walker Cup, and plays championship golf at some of the finest venues around the globe.
“I rode the wave of emotions today,” Gene said. “I felt comfortable until I shanked a five-iron off the 14th tee and made bogey. I bogeyed the next two and the wheels were coming off, actually they were almost bouncing along beside me down the fairway. But I made a great up-and-down at 17, hitting the best putt I made all week to save par. I knew I needed to two-putt from 20 feet at the last to win, which I did but it isn’t always the easiest thing to do under pressure.”
“I’ve been a hotel room for five days [quarantining under Covid restrictions] and you can only swing a golf club inside a hotel room and practice putting for so long”, said Gene. “This is the hardest I’ve ever worked to play in a golf tournament by far, but it’s worth it to play here on this great golf course. This win is up there with the best I’ve ever done. I value golf over here, and what The R&A does to put on this event. It means a lot to win this great championship.”
Writing about this year’s R&A Seniors, golf correspondent Alistair Tate said “Ganton often plays like a proper links. It can play hard and fast, especially in the middle of summer when baked out under a hot sun. Many of the fairways bunkers have the classic rivetted faces so conspicuous on championship links. Stay out of them and you have a chance, albeit slim, of playing to your handicap.
“The Senior Amateur Championship features the best golfers aged 55 and over from all around the world. However scores at this year’s event proved just how much of a test Ganton is. The average score in the opening round was 79.91 against par of 71. It rose to 80.28 in round two. There was only one score under par in the first 36 holes, a 1-under 70.
“The average score for the 61 players who made the cut was 79.91 in round three. Only three players broke par over the first three rounds, and only one score was under 70, a 3-under-par 68. Not one player complained. Even those who were shooting in the high 80s had nothing but praise for the course. Many who have been coming here for years said it’s in the best condition ever.
“It’s certainly the best I’ve seen it. Get yourself to glorious Ganton. You won’t regret it. It’s as good a day’s golf as you’re likely to find anywhere in the British Isles, and arguably England’s best inland layout.”
In addition to the first class organisation by the R&A, headed at Ganton by R&A Championship Committee Member Charlie Crummock and by Tournament Director Ed Johnson, tremendous credit goes to the Simon Olver, Ganton’s Course Manager, and his team for the superb playing conditions, which received so many compliments. Also, to the many Ganton Members who volunteered before and throughout the Championship.
The tournament season at Ganton continues with:
- Yorkshire Team Championship Finals on 21st July
- England Golf’s ‘English Men’s Open Amateur Stoke Play Championship for the Brabazon Trophy’ from 19th to 22nd August
- The Yorkshire Challenge from 8th to 10th September