Africa win is my best yet

Ross reigns supreme in Sand­lam Am­a­teur Open for his big­gest achieve­ment to date

Rutherglen Reformer - - The Back Page - Mur­ray Spooner

Cam­bus­lang golfer Craig Ross de­scribed win­ning the San­lam South African Am­a­teur Cham­pi­onship as the big­gest achieve­ment of his ca­reer so far.

The 23- year- old Kirkhill mem­ber beat South Africa’s Dy­lan Naidoo 3& 1 in a low scor­ing 36-hole fi­nal at Ge­orge Golf Club last Fri­day.

He be­came the fourth Scot in the last six years to get his hands on the tro­phy, fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of for­mer cham­pi­ons, Daniel Young, Brian Soutar and Michael Ste­wart.

Over 35 holes in the fi­nal, Ross was an im­pres­sive 13 un­der par, in­clud­ing an eight un­der-par ef­fort for 17 holes in round two, while teenager Naidoo was 11 un­der, over­all.

Ross, who qual­i­fied for the knock­out phase as se­cond seed, held a two-hole lead at lunch af­ter mak­ing birdie on the last three holes. Ross’s ad­van­tage had in­creased to four af­ter 22 holes, be­fore his op­po­nent be­gan a spir­ited come­back.

Naidoo won three holes from the 25th to cut the deficit to just one, but Ross, who was five un­der par in his semi­fi­nal vic­tory over Marco Steyn, re­fused to buckle, and won the 29th be­fore a stun­ning ea­gle two at the par-four 30th.

Ross closed the match out with a birdie at the 35th and was six un­der par for his last seven holes.

Soon af­ter touch­ing down on Scot­tish soil for the first time in six weeks, Ross spoke ex­clu­sively to the Re­former about his su­perb ac­com­plish­ment.

He said: “It was great to win it. I had been play­ing great all week.

“I felt com­fort­able and didn’t drop too many shots.

“I re­ally liked the course. It was a bit dif­fer­ent to what we had been play­ing on the trip.

“The greens were a bit firmer and we were near the coast, so the ball didn’t fly as far.

“I would say it was the big­gest win so far. I won on the Euro­Pro tour a cou­ple of years ago but I’m pleased to win such a pres­ti­gious tro­phy.

“I’ve also been in­vited to the SA Open next year and I think I’ll get to play along with the likes of Andy Sul­li­van, Scott Jamieson and Bran­den Grace.

“It’s great to win this tro­phy and fol­low in Daniel Young’s foot­steps from last year and bring it back home again.”

Ross shot to promi­nence in 2014 when he won the Glen­far­clas ti­tle on the Euro­Pro Tour, which is one step below the Chal­lenge Tour.

He also made his de­but for Scot­land in the Home In­ter­na­tion­als, win­ning five­and-a-half points from six at South­ern­down in South Wales.

“For now I’ll be play­ing the rest of the am­a­teur sea­son back home and try and get into the top 50 in the world,” Ross added.

“I’m aim­ing to go to tour school at the end of the year and get my card,

“I’ve had so much sup­port from back home I had time to cel­e­brate with the guys in South Africa be­fore fly­ing home. I’m now spend­ing time with the fam­ily be­cause I’ve been away for such a long time.”

Pic­ture by Pi­eter Els

Champ Cam­bus­lang man Craig Ross in South Africa

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