By Barry Havenga

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Amateur Scene -

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).

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