Mark Calcaveccia is King!
Posted on: 04 Dec 2011
by Ursula Brown, Managing Editor and Patrick Allen National Photographic Editor Cape Info SA
Mark Calcaveccia wins Seniors Challenge 2011 at Sun City (Sat 3 Dec 2011).
Yesterday has been and gone with Mark Calcaveccia crowned King of Nedbank Senior Challenge 2011 at Sun City.
Sitting at 18th on day three, somehow a poem came to mind " Perched on my city office stool... I watched with envy while a cool and lucker carter handled ice..."
I think it must be the HEAT!! due partially to a short but saturating surprising unexpected cloud burst, resulting in players and spectators momentarily taking cover back at base. Spotted Gary Player in the house (on grandstand) just before Senior Challenge 2011 prize-giving.
Day Three began with Bernard Langer (-8) in the lead for Seniors and Robert Karlsson (-9) for NGC 2011.
Nedbank Senior Challenge 2011 - Final Leaderboard
As the day progressed, it was clear that Lee Westwood, defending 2010 champion, knew precisely what he was planning, and that was to runaway from the field. Lee's score of 16 under at close of play on day three, tells its own story.
2011 NGC 2011 - End Day Three Leaderboard
Photos by Patrick Allen, National Photographic Editor, Cape Info SA
Senior Player Profile 2011 - MARK CALCAVECCHIA
Calcavecchia turned professional in 1981, and joined the PGA Tour a year later, but he failed to register any victories until 1985. This victory kick-started a purple patch which extended into the late 1980s and included the most important win of his career – a victory in the 1989 British Open after a playoff with Greg Norman and Wayne Grady. This was not totally unexpected, as the year before he had finished as runner-up in the US Masters to Sandy Lyle.
Between the years 1988 and 1991 he spent 109 weeks in the top-10 of the Official World rankings, and is one of many players who remained competitive on the PGA Tour until joining the Champions Tour, and as recently as 2009 he set a new record on the PGA Tour. During the second round of the Canadian Open, he birdied nine consecutive holes, again not surprising, because this player has a long history of shooting very low scores. With a total of 26 professional wins (half of these on the PGA Tour, his last coming in the 2007 PODS Championship), he continued to play on the regular Tour – clearly keeping himself competitive until he qualified for the Champions Tour.
When ‘Calk’ joined the over-50 Tour last season, he was expected to win but could only manage one second and a single third place. These performances, together with other high finishes, earned him almost $900 000, and while victory has again eluded him this season, he has again won almost a million Dollars thus far.
In the British Senior Open he led or tied for the lead after the first, second and third rounds, and only a diabolical four-putt saw his challenge fade on the last day. Only a week after his disappointment at Walton Heath he posted four sub-70 rounds to finish in third place in the US Senior Open. In the first of the season’s senior majors he again led at the halfway stage and after the third round, but fell out of contention with a final round of 3-over par finishing tied for fifth.
In The Open Championship at Royal St. George’s, Calcavecchia opened with a 69, and it looked as though he may turn back the clock and challenge for his second major, but after a disastrous second round 79 he missed the cut.
Calcavecchia’s father was a bowling centre proprietor, and both he and his wife Brenda love the game. He actually has two bowling lanes in his home, and has an impressive average of 205. This four-time Ryder Cup player, who has also represented his country in two Dunhill Cups and the President’s Cup, is the only player without a victory on the over-50s Tour but he could well rectify that at the Gary Player Country Club in December.