WILLIAMS IS NO 1 MID AMATEUR
Top performer in 2014 season
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