By Barry Havenga
which provided me with extra motivation to finish the year strongly.” While the three-man SA team was competing in Mexico, McClathie won 7½ out of 10 points for Ekurhuleni in the Premier IPT at Fish River Sun, including three wins and two halves at No 1 in the singles order.
Venter, 20, was the form player in the first half of the year, winning the African Amateur at Leopard Creek with some impressive scores against a strong contingent of foreign players, and then the Western Province Strokeplay at Clovelly. At the end of June he was far ahead in the rankings, and at that stage led McClatchie by 617 points. But Venter, a member of the Tuks HPC Golf Academy in Pretoria, failed to win another title. He had 12 top-10s in 18 events with a stroke average of 70.46 from 56 rounds.
McClatchie was rewarded with his senior national colours in November when he represented SA in Argentina at the Tailhade Cup (with Aubrey Beckley), and he was the leading qualifier (67-65) in the Argentine Amateur. He regularly produced low rounds. A 63 in the Boland Open, and 64s at ERPM (Ekurhuleni Open) and Maccauvlei.
“I will be playing another full year of amateur golf in 2017, starting with the SA Open at Glendower in January, where I have an exemption,” says McClatchie.“I hope to travel as much as possible and a national title will be my goal. I have two chances on two great courses – Kingswood (SA Strokeplay) and Humewood (SA Amateur).”
After a promising junior career, McClatchie turned down several scholarship offers to colleges in America, preferring to develop his game at Serengeti surrounded by his own team and family. He becomes the fourth Ekurhuleni player to win Golf Digest’s Amateur of the Year award. Danie van Tonder was the first in 2010, then Christiaan Bezuidenhout (2013) and Tristen Strydom (2014/2015).