Am­a­teur Scene

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Amateur Scene -

tour­na­ment rounds.

James (West­lake), who im­proved his na­tional rank­ing from No 15 in 2014 to No 2 in 2015, must have felt a bit like Ernie Els did when he came up against Tiger Woods in the ma­jors around the turn of the mil­len­nium. James failed to win a tour­na­ment, and was a run­ner-up to Roux no fewer than four times.

James had his best sea­son in Mid-Am­a­teur golf, though, and he did es­pe­cially well in the SA Mid-Am­a­teur at Vic­to­ria, where he gave Roux his tough­est bat­tle of the year. James kept Roux closely in sight through the first three rounds, trail­ing by one go­ing into the fi­nal round, and then un­leashed a birdie bar­rage over the front nine to take the lead. He was out in 32, but came home in 43 as Roux went on to win by four shots.

James fin­ished with a stroke av­er­age of 72.69, marred by high scores in his last two tour­na­ments.

Josef Fourie (Hoop­stad) had an­other steady year to fin­ish No 3 on the rank­ings, but had just the one vic­tory to his name, af­ter claim­ing three ti­tles in 2014.

The 2014 No 1, Steve Wil­liams (Mod­der­fontein), slipped to No 17 on the rank­ings af­ter in­jury pre­vented him from play­ing any tour­na­ments the first six months of the year. He was fit enough, though, to rep­re­sent South Africa in the In­ter­na­tional Teams event in France in July along with Roux, James and Fourie. He ended the year on a high note by win­ning the SA Se­nior Open at Blue Val­ley.

Mid-Am­a­teur golf will have a new min­i­mum age of 30 for 2016, and it will be in­ter­est­ing to see if younger play­ers – those be­tween 30 and the old limit of 35 – do have any im­pact in tour­na­ments. Up to now it has been the veter­ans who have ruled the roost. Mid-Am­a­teur golf had its old­est win­ner yet in 2015, when 61-year-old Steve Cullen won the Lowveld ti­tle.

Indwe Risk Ser­vices is the proud ma­jor spon­sor of SAGA Se­nior Golf.

El­ton James.

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