Top per­former in 2014 sea­son

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Amateur Scene -

teve Wil­liams played in­cred­i­bly con­sis­tent golf in 2014 to be­come the No 1 player on the SAGA Mid-Am­a­teur rank­ings. The 53-year-old Mod­der­fontein Golf Club mem­ber, one of the old­est on the mid-am­a­teur cir­cuit, posted 10 con­sec­u­tive top-10 fin­ishes dur­ing the sea­son. The age limit for mid-am­a­teur golf is 35.

Wil­liams won twice – the Bor­der and Boland ti­tles, both in Septem­ber – and was run­ner-up in the SA Cham­pi­onship. After an av­er­age per­for­mance in the Cen­tral Gaut­eng Open at the be­gin­ning of 2014, he never fin­ished worse than sixth the rest of the year, with a stroke av­er­age of 73 from 24 rounds.

He also had an ex­cel­lent tour­na­ment for Cen­tral Gaut­eng at the Mid-Am­a­teur IPT, and one of his scalps at Mid­del­burg was Ger­lou Roux, who played for South Africa in the Eisen­hower Trophy.

“I put in a lot of ef­fort in 2014 to play as many of the tour­na­ments as pos­si­ble, trav­el­ling around the coun­try at con­sid­er­able ex­pense,” said Wil­liams. “At my age, yes, I could be play­ing golf with the se­niors, but that doesn’t make sense yet if I’m No 1 among the mid-ams. The big in­cen­tive for all the guys play­ing mi­da­ma­teur golf is to be cho­sen for rep­re­sen­ta­tive teams.

“In my case I want to keep on play­ing for the South African team, and it’s there­fore vi­tal that the SAGA keeps find­ing in­ter­na­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties for us. With­out that, the at­trac­tion for many play­ers will wear thin. We need to have Euro­pean na­tions com­ing out here for tri­an­gu­lar or quad­ran­gu­lar matches.”

One of the attractions for Wil­liams of mid-am­a­teur golf over se­nior golf is the high stan­dard of com­pe­ti­tion which he thrives on. “There are some ex­cel­lent play­ers, and to win you need to go low most of the time. In fact, I think we would

see much lower scores if the cour­ses weren’t set up so ridicu­lously hard for some events. Give us a break; we don’t need to play off ev­ery back tee.”

Wil­liams was one of three re­cent SA in­ter­na­tion­als to per­form well in mid-am­a­teur golf, the oth­ers be­ing Ryan Dreyer (Kil­lar­ney) and Cameron John­ston (Mil­ner­ton), who were third and fourth on the rank­ings.

Josef Fourie (Hoop­stad) was No 2 on the rank­ings, im­prov­ing from No 8 in 2013, with three wins in just six ap­pear­ances, but had a dis­ap­point­ing SA champs at Ruim­sig, where he failed to make the top 20. The 43-year-old Fourie shot 66-67 to re­tain the Free State ti­tle at Vaal de Grace. He was also in­cluded in the SA Mid-Am­a­teur team which trav­elled to France.

Graeme Wat­son (Ebotse), the 2012 No 1 player, cap­tured the SA ti­tle, but his over­all rank­ing slipped from No 2 to No 9. Greg Sheard (Mil­ner­ton), who was No 1 in 2013, did not play enough tour­na­ments to qual­ify for the rank­ings.

In­ter­est­ingly, of the top 20 play­ers on the rank­ings, only two were un­der the age of 40 – David Muller (Glen­vista) and Rowan du Preez (Benoni Lake) – and they both turn 40 in 2015.

Muller im­proved from No 12 to No 7 on the rank­ings, and was a mem­ber of the SA Mid-Am­a­teur team. Other play­ers climb­ing up the rank­ings into the top 10 were Kevin Sharp (Mod­der­fontein) and Neil Fusedale (Kyalami).

Nor­man Raad ( Wan­der­ers) was the iron man of the mid-am­a­teur cir­cuit, com­pet­ing in 13 of the 15 rank­ing tour­na­ments, one more than Clifton Stan­ley (Ruim­sig). Wil­liams played in 11.

Leon de Lange (Ruim­sig) posted the low­est 36-hole to­tal of the year, rounds of 66-66 at his home course to win the Cen­tral Gaut­eng Open.

Cen­tral Gaut­eng fin­ished the year with six play­ers in the top 10 of the rank­ings, 10 in the top 20, but Ekurhu­leni claimed A sec­tion hon­ours in the Mid-Am­a­teur IPT. – Stu­art McLean

Steve Wil­liams.

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