SOUTH Africa’s No 1 amateur, Haydn Porteous, hopes to add his name to an exclusive list of players at the Sanlam South African Amateur Championship, which starts tomorrow – but a dozen members of the SGU National Squad are bidding to deny him – and claim a notable hat-trick for Scotland.
Porteous claimed back-to-back victories in the South African Strokeplay at Hyatt Regency Oubaai Golf Resort and Spa this month and hopes to add his name to the six players who have managed to win the elusive ‘double’ in the same calendar year.
Porteous was among the early departures at the championship at Mowbray Golf Club last year, after Louis Taylor thwarted his bid to win the sought-after double in the second round. Taylor, in turn, was taken out by Brian Soutar in the quarter-finals and the Scot eventually beat South Africa’s Brandon Stone for the prestigious crown.
A year earlier, Troon Welbeck’s Michael Stewart, now in the pro ranks, overcame his countryman Paul Shields for the 2011 title. Soutar, of Leven Golfing Society, has since returned to full-time employment, meaning a new name will be etched on the trophy in 2013.
Of the 12-strong Scots, Ewan Scott (St Andrews) appears the player in form. The 17-year-old, part of the Boys’ Performance Squad but working with the Men in South Africa, finished in a share of fifth at the South African Stroke Play to build on his gold medal with Team GB at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in January.
Fraser McKenna (Balmore), Ross Bell (Downfield), James White (Lundin) and Graeme Robertson (Glenbervie), all members of the SGU Men’s Performance Squad, will also hope to shine.
Pollok’s Conor O’Neil, Adam Dunton (McDonald), Jamie Savage from Cawder, Fraser Moore (Glenbervie), Aberdour’s Scott Crichton, Michael Daily (Erskine) and Graham Gordon of Newmachar complete the Scots’ strong challenge.
Scott said: “I’m playing well so I hope to perform. We have 12 players playing in the South African Amateur and hopefully we can put in a strong performance between us.”
Porteous said: “I would really like to lift the title, but I’m not going to put myself under too much pressure. In this format, anything can happen. In match play, you only get one chance to win. You lose, you’re out,”