Elton James rolling in the birdie putts
ELTON JAMES has teed it up in two events on the Western Province Premier Amateur Tour for one win and a second.
The former KwaZulu-Natalian, who plays out of Westlake Golf Club, opened his campaign on his home course with a runner-up finish to Chris Wicks and then followed it up with a facile victory in the Atlantic Beach Open last weekend.
Wicks has played in all four events, won once and tops the overall points aggregate with 250.
Dean Pilkington (Bellville) is 54 points off the pace in second ahead with Pietie Loubser (Westlake) rounding off the podium on 185.5 points.
James, whose brother is former Springbok Butch James (who plays off a three handicap), lies in 12th place, 101.5 points off the pace.
“I’ve had a great start to the PAT and am aiming to be the champion this year,” said James.
“Chris is setting the early pace and no doubt wants to challenge for the overall title.
“There are still 12 events before the champion is decided in early December and I’ll be trying to play in as many of them to improve my chances of going all the way.”
James, 41, certainly has experience on his side.
He has represented South Africa at mid-amateur level and boasts a runner-up finish at the 2015 SA Mid-Amateur championship.
Last year he captained the WP Open team on debut at the Inter-provincials and more than held his own in what turned out to be a belowpar team effort for the former multiple winners.
James has been viewed as a bit of a “nervy” finisher by his rivals but those times seem to be behind the big hitter.
“I’m not buying that perception,” said James, who only started playing competitively nine years ago.
“Yes, I’ve blown it a couple of times when in the ascendancy in big tournaments, but golf is a game that tests you to the limit and the most important lesson is to limit making the same mistakes over and over again, and I think I’ve been doing that of late.
“So to any detractors, keep an eye on the ball because that’s what I’ll be doing.
“As for my game right now, it is pretty good in all aspects although there is work to be done on bits and pieces,” James added. “I’ve got a new putter and am making good putts, which is pleasing.
“The long game ball-striking has been solid which sets one up to attack the pins with confidence; I needed only 14 putts in the opening round at Atlantic Beach. So it’s all systems go come the next tourney.”