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Jones wins after leading from start to finish

20 May 2011

Denis Jones, of East London Golf Club, the 2011 Champion having lead every round from the commencement of the 72 hole championship

Volvo

EAST LONDON (20 May 2011) – Veteran golfer Denis Jones carded a four-over-par 77 to put the finishing touches on a remarkable wire-to-wire victory in the South African Mid-Amateur Stroke Play Championship, sponsored by Volvo, at East London Golf Club on Friday.

The 60-year-old local favourite won his mid-amateur debut with a comfortable two stroke win over  Gauteng golfer Kevin Sharp with a winning score of four-over-par 296.

Glendower’s Sharp carded a 78 to finish alone in second, one shot ahead of Jan Kemp Golf Club’s Josef Fourie, who shot a 75 and East London Golf Club’s John Kew, who carded a 76.

“It hasn’t quite sunk in,” said a delighted Jones. “I just hope that the Super Seniors don’t demote me because of this.”

Jones carded rounds of 68-71-80 and held a one shot lead over Sharp going into the final day. He turned in three-over, but held on to his edge until a double bogey at the stroke two, par-four 14th nearly derailed his tournament.

“The ball pitched just over the fairway bunker and spun back into the trap,” explained Jones. “I thought I struck it well but it pitched short of the green. I hit a poor chip shot and it took two putts to finally get it in the hole.”

But the resilient senior cut the damage to one shot with a superb birdie at the 472 meter par-five 15th.

“I hit a good third shot into the green and nailed a 10-footer to put some space between Kevin and myself,” he said. “From there I just steadied the ship to the end.”

Jones was thrilled to have held off players 20 years his junior.

“I’m absolutely thrilled, I tell you. I never gave myself a shot at winning this. I only entered for fun of it, you know, because the tournament was being played at my home course.

“To win a mid-amateur at 60...it kind of gives one a new lease on life.”

And 41-year-old Clifton Stanley from Akasia Golf Club also had reason to celebrate, after firing a final round five-under-par 68.

“I brought a new putter but I struggled on greens something fierce,” explained Stanley, who posted rounds of 77, 76 and 80 over the first three rounds.

“I took my old two-ball Odyssey putter out of the boot this morning and suddenly I was putting at buckets out there today. Everything just fell right back into place. It was the greatest feeling to finally play the kind of golf I was playing before the tournament.”

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