Scotland’s Craig Ross wins South African Amateur title

Craig Ross

Craig Ross

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The Sanlam South African Amateur Championship title is in Scottish hands for the fourth time in six years.

Kirkhill’s Craig Ross maintained the home of golf’s remarkable recent record in the event with a 3&1 win over home hope Dylan Naidoo (Modderfontein) in today’s 36-hole final at George Golf Club.

Two up at the halfway stage after finishing birdie-birdie in the morning, Ross quickly went four up in the afternoon round before being pegged back to one up with eight to play.

But he doused Naidoo’s fightback by winning the 29th with a birdie then making an eagle-2 at the next to go three up.

Helped by two birdies in three holes, Naidoo closed the gap to one again with three to play but Ross closed out the match in style with back-to-back birdies.

“This win means a lot to me. I’ve been playing well all week and I’m just over the moon to win this trophy,” said the 23-year-old.

“I knew playing Dylan would be a tough game. I’d been looking at his scorecards and he’d been playing well. I knew I had to play great golf to win.”

It’s the Lanarkshire player’s biggest success in the amateur ranks, though he outshone a field of professionals to win a PGA EuroPro Tour event at Mar Hall in 2014.

His success comes in the same event won by Troon Welbeck’s Michael Stewart (2011), Leven Golfing Society’s Brian Soutar (2012) and Craigie Hill’s Daniel Young (2015).

“I’ve had so much support from back home, and from Scottish Golf and Aberdeen Asset Management over the past couple of years,” added Ross. “It’s great to win this trophy and follow in Daniel Young’s footsteps from last year and bring it back home again.”

The triumph means the South African and Australian Amateur titles are both now in Scottish hands after Drumoig Golf Centre’s Connor Syme claimed the latter earlier in the year.

Making it another double, Inverness teenager Rory Franssen picked up the Proudfoot Trophy as leading qualifier for this event, having pipped Ross over two stroke-play rounds.

“It was a great week for Scottish Golf,” said coach Spencer Henderson, who has been accompanying the squad on the final leg of their trip to the Rainbow Nationa.

“The standard of both players in the final was excellent and Craig was a fully-deserved winner. He appeared in total control of his game from as early as the stroke play qualifying and he continued to improve during the week.

“He is a quiet lad but certainly let his golf speak here and I think he has a huge season ahead on the international circuit.”

Elsewhere, Liam Johnston is the last Scot standing in the Spanish Amateur Championship at Royal Seville Golf Club

The Dumfries & County player advanced to the last eight after beating two Spaniards - Ivan Cantero Gutierrez by two holes in the morning then Mario Galiano Aguilar by 3&2.

He now meets Romain Langasque, the Frenchman who won the Amateur Championship at Carnoustie last year.

Craigielaw’s Grant Forrest bowed out to Irishman Colm Campbell in the second round while Syme’s hopes of a second title triumph this year were ended as he went down 3&1 to Italian Guido Migliozzi in the last 16.

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