27 Jul 17
Turning the grand old age of 60 has its upsides. Just ask PGA Professional John Hay who reached the milestone last year and is now celebrating after winning his first PGA Super 60s title on a debut to remember at Wollaton Park.
Playing with amateur Rob Dennett, the Waterlooville duo battled the elements over two gruelling days to win the popular competition, seemingly with ease.
Grey skies, torrential rain and gusty winds, you could be forgiven for thinking the 80-strong field was competing in the middle of winter.
The terrible weather even led to play being suspended for almost four hours, but that did not seem to have any effect at all on Hay and Dennett.
They produced scores of 63 and 62 to finish on 17-under-par, five shots clear their closest rivals.
“We had to wait three-and-a-half hours yesterday and the weather had been bad at times again today, so it’s been a tough couple of days,” said Hay, who also entered the PGA Seniors Championship for the first time back in May.
“You have to keep focussed on what you’re doing and once you get out there you’re away.
“We got a few heavy showers and it was a bit windy but when everything is going well you just get on with it. We both had a good two days so it’s nice to win a top PGA event.”
The PGA Super 60s is an event Scotsman Hay had been eyeing up for some time. It was a tournament he wanted to play in because he feels it keeps older players motivated.
“There’s some really good players here this week so it’s a nice competition to win," he continued.
“It’s nice to keep playing at our age and have these sort of competitions to play. When you get to our age there’s no point in playing against the young lads; they play a different game now.
“We had a really good two days and we’ve exceeded our expectations I would think. We didn’t think we’d win it by any means, it was just a chance for us to get away for a couple of days and enjoy the competition. We weren’t expecting this.”
The long delay on Wednesday had a big impact on runners-up Richard Green and amateur Joe Kirwan, who finished on a total of 130.
“Yesterday was a nightmare for us,” commented Green. “We weren’t’ staying here. The delay pushed our tee time back to 5.30pm. We were off the course at 9.15pm with four holes to play. With a two-hour drive home I got into bed at 12.15am and then I was up at 4am to be here at 7.40am – I’m knackered!
“We did okay on the front nine today but the conditions changed on the back nine and we soon realised by the 13th hole that we were playing for second place.
“We were flat at the end; tired and flat. We were third last year, second this year so next year you never know!”
Meanwhile, Didsbury Golf Club duo Peter Barber and amateur Paul Dalby had high hopes heading into the final day.
Their opening round of seven-under-par placed them second overnight behind the eventual winners, and despite posting 68 on day two, it wasn’t enough to claim the top prize.
“We never really got going today,” said Barber. “It was a bit more of a battle and neither of us felt on top of our game, so 68 was a decent score considering we didn’t play as well as we did on Wednesday.”
Barber pointed the finger of blame towards the weather, which once again threw sunshine followed by heavy winds and more rain at all of the competitors.
“I think it was a bit trickier today with the wind, because that certainly made clubbing a bit more difficult," he added. "The greens felt varied; they were a bit slower maybe with all of the rain so that caught us out a little bit.
“I didn’t think ten-under was enough to win. I think it will put us in the top three or four, but it was very pleasing and I’ve enjoyed the company, it’s nice to be out playing.
“It’s a great golf course - perfect for this type of event, the length of it and everything that goes with it. I’d definitely like to see the event back here.”
There were plenty of other commendable scores further down the field.
Paul Horridge and amateur James Morris finished the opening round on 75, but followed up with a dramatic improvement by shooting one of the scores of the round (66) to finish on one-under
Kirby Muxloe Golf Club duo posted the same result and left Nottingham with their heads held high on three-under par.