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JJ Senekal primed to defend SDC Open title as Road to Mallorca begins

JJ Senekal primed to defend SDC Open title as Road to Mallorca begins

JJ Senekal is targeting back-to-back SDC Open titles when he tees it up at Zebula Golf Estate & Spa this week as the Road to Mallorca season gets under way in South Africa.


Zebula plays host to the first of four consecutive co-sanctioned events with the Sunshine Tour and marks the beginning of a 30-tournament schedule staged across 19 different countries.

Senekal is a three-time winner on the Sunshine Tour and his victory at the SDC Open last year earned him a first on the Challenge Tour.

The 36-year-old carded rounds of 62-67-69-65 on his way to a 25 under par total and a wire-to-wire triumph, and he’s excited to kick-start the campaign in his native South Africa and at a place that holds fond memories.

“I always feel lucky to be back in South Africa and in the bush,” he said. “The bush lifestyle is just something completely different and it’s very nice to be back. This is a place where I feel comfortable. I represented South Africa here when I was 18 and since then it’s always suited my game length wise.

“Last year obviously started off great for me with a first round 62. I put myself into quite a bit of a lead, built on that the whole week and no one really caught me until there was about three holes to go.

“I played some good golf before that tournament and at the end of the previous year, so I felt like the win was around the corner and when I started with a 62, I thought it was my chance.”

Senekal went on to finish the year 28th in the Road to Mallorca Rankings, narrowly missing out on promotion to the DP World Tour, but with a first full season on the Challenge Tour now under his belt, he’s looking to go one step further this time around.

“If you get off to a good start like I did last year, you can really go over to Europe and try to stay inside that top 20 until you get to Mallorca,” he added. “That’s the goal again this season.

“I’d never really played European golf so last year was a great experience. I felt more comfortable the more I played there last year. It’s a great platform and a great tour. There’s a lot of strong players and it’s obviously somewhere I want to be playing.”

Senekal joins a strong field in Zebula this week, which includes five-time DP World Tour winner Alexander Levy and four-time DP World Tour winner Grégory Bourdy.

The SDC Open gets under way at 6:30am local time on Thursday February 1, with Senekal teeing off alongside countryman Malcolm Mitchell and Frenchman Pierre Pineau at 11:30am.

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