Golf Australia

Shocked Claney bags second senior crown

Gordon Claney
Gordon Claney gets his name on the Kerry Packer Trophy for a second time.

The ageless Gordon Claney won the Australian Men’s Senior Amateur Championship today, then immediately said he thought he had been too old to achieve the feat.

Claney didn’t have his A-game, but did just enough to claim his second national senior crown, edging out two rivals by one shot on the beautifully presented Spring Valley Golf Club.

Three birdies in four holes in the middle of his final round set Claney, a member at nearby Kingston Heath, on his way to a closing two-over-par 73 and a six-over total.

“Sixty-five year-olds aren’t meant to win these championships,” Claney said with a grin after being presented with the Kerry Packer Trophy.

“I hadn’t been in good form and my expectations weren’t high for this week.”

But the 2014 champion in Mandurah undersold himself, especially given it was a wire-to-wire victory with rounds of 72-74-73 to highlight his consistency.

Joint runners-up were the fast-finishing James Lavender, of Victoria, and Kenneth Brewer, of New South Wales.

Brewer played in the final group with Claney and the pair were neck and neck for much of the final round, with the result in doubt until the final putt was holed with both men parring the uphill last hole.

Lavender returned the only sub-par round of the tournament with a fine closing 70, but in the end was left to rue a bogey on the straightforward par-five 17th that made his birdie up the last largely academic.

If not for three back-nine bogeys, the story could have been different for Lavender, a member at Melbourne’s Northern Golf club, who had set his sights on a round of 69 which he correctly predicted would be needed to catch Claney.

Organisers were thrilled with host club Spring Valley and a strong field of 135 players from all Australian states and territories, along with several international players, were full of praise for the Sandbelt layout which has previously hosted four Vic Opens.

New South Wales stormed home to share the interstate teams championship with Victoria on 678 strokes apiece for the four-man teams.

Next year’s championship will be held in October at Maroochy River Golf Club on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

INTERSTATE TEAMS EVENT

NSW                     678 (Brewer, Cranfield, Peterson and Taylor)

Victoria                  678 (Charnley, Kelly, McCleary and Rhodes)

Western Australia  692

Tasmania               707

South Australia      708

ACT                       717

Queensland          717

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