Francis wins first senior major title

Winner Francis
L-R: East Gippsland Mayor Joe Rettino, Doug Francis & Guy Krall

Ideal scoring conditions welcomed players to the final round of the Victorian Senior Amateur Championship for 2017. This year’s event had been blessed with favourable conditions for all three rounds, which was reflected within the fantastic scoring during the 54-hole event. Both the men’s and the women’s fields returned to their first-round venues today, keen to improve upon their efforts of the opening round.

This year’s title was destined to go down to the wire & it did not disappoint. At the turn, it became a two-horse race between two Metropolitan members, tied overnight leader John Kelly & Doug Francis. Tied overnight leader Ian McCleary slipped off the pace with an opening nine of 40 & it was Francis who seized the advantage after heading out in 36 to Kelly’s 38 to hold a one-shot lead with the back nine to play.

Back to back bogeys on the 10th & 11th halted the momentum of Francis, as the pendulum swung back in the favour of Kelly who opened with two par’s. The next six holes would prove to be a roller coaster ride for Kelly, recording three birdies, two bogey’s & a double bogey, whilst Francis maintained the consistency of one birdie, one bogey & four par’s to ensure the duo stood on the tee of the 54th hole tied at +10.

This year’s championship would come down to one miraculous recovery shot from the trees by Francis. The brilliant shot & ensuing birdie was enough for one of the newest members of the ‘senior circuit’ to secure his first major title & be crowned the Men’s Victorian Senior Amateur champion. A par on the 54th hole saw Kelly finish outright second one shot shy of a wire to wire win with former champion Gordon Claney (Kingston Heath) finishing third on 228.

In the nett championship, The National’s Guy Krall took top honours by two shots with a three-round nett total of 216 from a daily handicap of 7. McCleary finished in the runner-up position with a nett total of 219 from a daily handicap of 4 with Yarram’s Ignatius Duivenvoorden finishing third on a countback with 220 from a daily handicap of 13.

Age category nett winners were, John Kelly (55-59), Guy Krall (60-64), Ignatius Duivenvoorden (65-69) & Wayne Aigner (70+). Age category gross winners were, Doug Francis (55-59), Gordon Claney (60-64), Russell Rogers (65-69) & Paul Welsford (70+).

Both Bairnsdale and Lakes Entrance are to be commended on their hospitality and generosity provided to all players this week, with both layouts presented in wonderful condition.

Next up on the senior calendar is the Lang Lang Senior Amateur Monday September 18th, further information regarding this event can be found here.

To view full results & photo gallery, click here.

Claney Final Rd
Former Champion - Gordon Claney

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