The multiple tournaments and championship winner Mark McNulty, Zimbabwe’s finest golfer after triple Major championship winner Nick Price, is still playing professional golf, at 70 years old.

After the first round of the British Seniors Championship at Royal Porthcawl in Wales Thursday, he lies 65th with a four over par score in a field of 144, or better than half-way on the leaderboard.

Obviously he has no pretentions of winning or achieving a high finish at his age but he might make the cut. It would be a magnificent performance if he succeeds. This may be seen by him as one more challenge in a long career, whatever his hopes or expectations may be now.

But will this championship be his swan-song? Knowing McNulty, probably not.

Brazilian and former evergreen professional Adilson da Silva, who lived some years in Harare, is also in the British Seniors field but he has to be disappointed at ending the firdt day well down the field in 47th place, especially when he currently stands at the top of the Seniors order of merit. Da Silva has come a long way since his days in Zimbabwe as professional at Leopard Rock and The Brooke, finding success mainly on the Asian Tour.

McNulty has incredibly won 59 tournaments in a fabulous career lasting all of 56 years – so far! Perhaps his best performance was finishing second to Nick Faldo in the 1990 Open Championship at St Andrews. He won the German Open three times, the Portuguese Open, the BMW, the Dunhill Masters, the Zimbabwe Open, 33 times on the Sunshine Tour and 16 tournaments on the European Tour. Plus many more and with a great clutch of previous amateur titles.

Also as an amateur he played in 1974 at the age of 21 for this country in the international Eisenhower Trophy.

Born at Bindura in March, 1953, Mark first played as a child on a three-hole course carved out of tobacco fields on his step-father’s farm at the former Centenary. After Independence he eventually became an Irish citizen, enabled through having an Irish grandmother. He explained that if he lost his Zimbabwe passport it would take at least two years to obtain another one and that forced the move.

He presently lives in Florida, running a junior golf academy which also teaches youngsters in the values of proper life-styles. Nick Price has also been resident nearby in Florida for several years and is on the executive of the controlling United States Golf Association. Price once told me his main interest is now fishing, mainly along the shores of the Bahamas.

The British Seniors Open carries a total prize fund of US$2 850,000 with the winner getting $450 000. The holder is Colin Montgomerie. Leading the event is Miguel Angel Jimenez on five under par, even though he is also “no chicken” at 59.


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