Ford is in over­rdrive back in golf ’s am­a­teur ranks

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - MIKE DE BRUYN

ADRIAN FORD is back in the am­a­teur fold af­ter an un­suc­cess­ful stint as a pro­fes­sional golfer.

Once con­sid­ered to be one of South Africa’s bright­est golf­ing prospects, Ford never quite re­alised his po­ten­tial, hence his de­ci­sion to re­turn to the non­paid ranks.

And quick div­i­dends have been yielded; the Dur­banville Golf Club mem­ber con­tested the West­ern Prov­ince Pre­mier Am­a­teur Tour’s (PAT) Parow Open and won with a to­tal of nine-un­der-par 135, with the high­light be­ing his sec­on­dround seven-un­der 65.

It was his first event af­ter skip­ping the Bel­lville Open won by Dean Robert Pilk­ing­ton on his home course.

Chris Wicks of Dur­banville, af­ter two top-five fin­ishes, tops the cur­rent rank­ings on 131.50 points, with Pilk­ing­ton, who fin­ished in a tie for 14th last time out, next best on 118.50.

Rian Lewis (Bel­lville) closes out the top three, while Ford (89) lies in sixth spot.

The play­ers con­tested the West­lake Open last week­end and in-form Chris Wicks of Dur­banville pre­vailed af­ter de­feat­ing El­ton James in a play­off for his sec­ond PAT ti­tle.

The PAT was launched in 2011 to give WP’s lead­ing play­ers a plat­form to show­case their skills in a com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment.

The late Michael Sher­riff was crowned PAT cham­pion last year with a record win­ning points to­tal. He won four events which tied the mark set in the same sea­son by Royal Cape Sean Bradley, who has since joined the pro ranks and done okay in the few tour­na­ments he’s played.

Sher­riff, 19, was trag­i­cally killed in a car crash over the Easter week­end.

Ford, 30, spent seven years in the paid ranks. In 2009, a year be­fore mak­ing the cross­over, he was SA’s top am­a­teur and was ranked 25th in the R&A World Am­a­teur Rank­ings.

He was tipped for a big ca­reer af­ter he won the Fred­die Tait Cup as the lead­ing am­a­teur in the 2008 South African Open.

But, for one rea­son or another, he never reached his full po­ten­tial. Just the odd top10 fin­ish would have opened his mind to the re­al­i­ties of pro golf, where noth­ing less than scores well be­low par will do.

“Lack of sponsorship prob­a­bly hurt my cause the most,” Ford said. “It costs a small for­tune get­ting to tour­na­ments on a weekly ba­sis and this is made that much more chal­leng­ing by not earn­ing enough money.

“Over time I lost be­lief in my abil­i­ties and the pas­sion for the game started to dwin­dle. So, af­ter years of go­ing nowhere, I made the de­ci­sion to re-join the am­a­teur ranks and it’s proven to be the right call. I’m en­joy­ing play­ing again and that win­ning feel­ing from yes­ter­year has re­turned.”

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