Scots retain title in African Amateur Championship

Scotland's winning team in the African Amateur Championship at Leopard Creek.
Scotland's winning team in the African Amateur Championship at Leopard Creek.
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Scotland retained the team title but handed the initiative to the host nation in the battle for the main prize heading into the final round of the African Amateur Championship at Leopard Creek.

It was mission accomplished on the team front as a quartet comprising Connor Syme, Liam Johnston, Craig Ross and Craig Howie emerged triumphant over the first three days, beating a South African junior side by two shots.

The quality of golf played by both the top two teams at the European Tour venue in Mpumalanga was illustrated by the fact the third-placed side, England, finished 22 shots behind the Scots.

The battle for the individual title is set for a thrilling finish and could also still end up in Scottish hands, with both Syme and Johnston just two shots adrift of the leader, newly-crowned SA Amateur champion Christo Lamprecht.

One behind the home player overnight, Syme had forged into a two-shot lead after covering the opening 11 holes in four-under before dropping a shot at 12 then finishing double bogey-bogey. However, the Drumoig player is still right in the hunt in his bid to add this title to an Australian Amateur Championship victory just over a year ago.

Johnston also dropped a shot at the last but, likewise, the Dumfries & County player is in the mix for what would be the biggest success of his career, having also given a good account of himself when reaching the last eight in the SA Amateur at Humewood a week ago.

Elsewhere, Balmore’s Christopher Maclean swept into the match-play phase of the Spanish Amateur Championship as the leading qualifier at El Saler, where he carded a three-under 69 in the second round for a 143 total.

Maclean was the sole Scot to progress after Haggs Castle’s Barry Hume (75-77) and Glencruitten’s Robert MacIntyre (77-78) failed to make the top 32 as the cut-off fell at 151.