Veteran Western Province golfer Greg Woodbridge gave himself the perfect Xmas present at the end of last year with one of the most remarkable rounds from a club golfer in 2020.
Woodbridge, 53, shot an 11-under-par 61 at his home club, Atlantic Beach Links, on December 24. It’s the lowest round of golf ever recorded at the Cape Town estate layout, where the course record is a 63 by former SA Open champion James Kingston. That was when Atlantic Beach hosted an Open Championship Qualifying event in 2004.
Woodbridge’s 61 won’t count as a new record though because he played off the club’s Red Tees.
“It was the Xmas Eve club competition on a Thursday morning, and my wife Candice and I were paired with club captain Nigel Pillay and his son Luke,” said Woodbridge, who plays off +4. “I thought what better way to embrace the seasonal spirit by playing off the forward tees, which measure 4 945 metres and have a course rating of 67.9. I often play the Red tees, either with my wife or when practising for tournaments, as it makes me play different shots you don’t normally encounter.
“On the first tee I decided to be courageous and attack the course, because on 12 holes there is a big advantage to playing Red.”
Woodbridge, who won four consecutive club championships at Atlantic Beach, birdied the difficult first hole, missed out on a good birdie opportunity at the par-5 fourth, then made eagle 3 at the next par-5, the sixth. What then spurred him on was a hole-in-one at No 8 with a wedge.
“My first ace in 29 years! (His two previous aces were at holes that no longer exist: Westlake’s old 13th, now a par 5, and No 3 at the old Metropolitan course.) And my best shot of the day.
“I birdied the ninth to be out in 6-under 30. Once at Milnerton I had shot 29 on the front nine, and then come home in 38 trying to protect my score. This time I decided to keep my foot on the pedal. Aggressive play paid off for me with birdie fours at No 10 and No 13. I then added three more birdies at the difficult par-4 15th, par-3 16th, and finally the short 18th where I drove it over the green and got up and down. Not a bogey on the card, and my lowest round ever. I had previously had 63 on two occasions.”
In his youth, Woodbridge was not only a good golfer but also a star soccer player. He received a scholarship in 1986 to the United States for both sports at Centenary College of Louisiana, and was a three-time All-American at soccer. He played college golf for four years, and his first 63 came in Texas. Two years ago he won the WP Senior Masters title at King David Mowbray, and in February he claimed the WP Senior Open trophy with scores of 71-72 at Durbanville.