Calcavecchia Gets His Fairytale Finish 20 years Later

by Michael Vlismas on

Mark Calcavecchia stormed through the field with a sublime 67 to win the Nedbank Senior Challenge by a single stroke at the Gary Player Country Club on Saturday.Mark Calcavecchia stormed through the field with a sublime 67 to win the Nedbank Senior Challenge by a single stroke at the Gary Player Country Club on Saturday.

The American beat off a strong challenge from Ian Woosnam to finish on nine under par and claim his maiden victory in this popular event. Woosnam missed a 25-foot birdie putt at the last to force a playoff.  It was a sweet victory for Calcavecchia as he returned to a golf course where he finshed second to Bernhard Langer in the regular Nedbank Golf Challenge in 1991.  “I enjoyed myself immensely 20 years ago. I finished second to Bernhard Langer then, so it was good to be on the other side of that this year. I remembered most of the golf course and knew I liked it, and I’m very happy with this win,” he said.

Calcavecchia didn’t let a weather delay of an hour and a half deter him at all and kept his mistakes to a minimum in the final round of this 54-hole tournament.  “I didn’t make any mistakes and I played pretty smart. I didn’t hit it in any spots where I had to struggle for pars.”

Ian Woosnam closed with a 70 to finish on eight under alongside Bernhard Langer, who signed for a final round of 71.  Nick Price closed with a 71 to share fourth place with David Frost on three under par. There was certainly no doubting who Price’s caddie was supporting. The man known as “Tiger” was wearing a popular clothing retailer’s red cap – Mr Price.

Defending champion Jeff Sluman finished in a share of sixth place on two over. “You always want to beat your buddies, but it’s a bonus to have been here again. This is a world-class event,” he said.  It was a feeling echoed by Mark O’Meara, who despite finishing last thoroughly enjoyed the experience.   “It’s been fantastic. It’s really been a thrill to come back to South Africa and Sun City. The course has become longer as I’ve grown older, but it’s still in such good condition.”

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