Senior Amateur

Tough conditions at Saunton on day two of Senior Amateur Championships

The R&A
10 Jul 24
3 mins

The world’s best seniors received a rude awakening on day two of the R&A Senior Amateur and Women’s Senior Amateur Championship at Saunton Golf Club. Steady south westerly winds of between 20 and 25 mph gusted across the East and West Courses, and blew away the chances of many hoping to lift the trophies at the end of the four rounds.

England’s Tracey Williamson takes a one-shot lead into the third round of the women’s championship after a seven-over-par 78 over Saunton’s West Course that puts her on ten-over for the championship. Australia’s Sue Wooster, who finished equal seventh at Woodhall Spa last year, is in second place. Defending champion Jackie Foster lies in joint third on 12-over-par with Australian Naden Gole, joint runner-up last year. George Best Wilson leads the men’s championship by one shot on even-par 142 over fellow Northern Irishman David Mulholland. Scotland’s Paul Moultrie had the low round of the day, a two-under 69 over the East, to share third spot with Welshman Chris Dinsdale and 2019 U.S. Senior Amateur champion Bob Royak on two-over-par. Defending champion Brent Peterson of New Zealand shares sixth place with Canadian Miles McConnell a further shot behind. Unbelievable!  Sheringham Golf Club member Williamson, who began the day on three-over-par in a tie for the lead with fellow English player Jane Sly, couldn’t believe she was leading when she finished.  “I didn’t think 77 and 78 would have me in the lead,” Williamson said. “But it was really tough, a lot harder than yesterday. “The wind was so strong, and seemed to be blowing across us all day. It was a battle of attrition trying to keep the ball on the straight and narrow. That wasn’t easy for me because I didn’t hit my irons well. You have to strike the ball solidly in the wind, and I need to do that tomorrow.” Williamson’s biggest accomplishment as a senior is winning the 2021 English Senior Women's Stroke Play Championship. She was under par in every round on that occasion. She might have to settle for being over par every round this week if she wants to get her name on the R&A Women’s Senior Amateur trophy.

Tracey Williamson - England

“The wind was so strong, and seemed to be blowing across us all day. It was a battle of attrition trying to keep the ball on the straight and narrow."

Local knowledge

Wilson has used local knowledge to record two level par 71s. The Northen Irishman is based in England, and plays his golf at Calcot Park near Reading. However, he was a country member at Saunton for many years. He has used that experience to good effect over the first 36 holes. “I haven’t done anything special the past two days other than not put it in the rough,” Wilson said. “I know from experience you’re going nowhere if you put the ball in the rough. It’s just been a case of get the ball in play and keep it in play, and stay as conservative as possible.”

No expectations 

Wilson first played the Senior Amateur when it was held at Ganton Golf Club in 2014. The former policeman finished joint sixth behind American Brady Exber. “That’s my best finish. I’ve missed a few cuts and made a few cuts since, so I had no expectations coming here.” Mulholland is another Northern Irishman whose closest challenge in this championship came at Ganton. The 58-year-old Castlerock Golf Club member finished second to American Gene Elliott in 2021 by one shot. He still rues a double bogey at Ganton’s par-3, 17th hole that cost him the title.


“I’m delighted with my score today,” Mulholland said. “I really had it going through 13 holes. I was three-under and knew I just had to hang on because it’s such a battle on the way in.” He dropped three shots over the East Course’s closing five holes to finish level for the round.   Mulholland, an eye surgeon based in Derry-Londonderry, has played a lot of golf this season because this year’s Senior Home Internationals is at his home club. Top-16 finishes in the English, Irish and Scottish Senior Amateurs and fifth in the Irish Senior Closed last week has given him an excellent chance of making that team. A good finish here would seal the deal. A win would make up for his close miss at Ganton two years ago.