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First Provincial Mid-Amateur joy for Fourie

24 Apr 2013

Free State & Northern Cape Mid-Amateur champion, Josef Fourie; credit SAGA

Josef Fourie locked down his first provinvial Mid-Amateur title with an impressive wire-to-wire victory in the Free State & Northern Cape Mid-Amateur Open at Vaal de Grace on Sunday.

The popular Hoopstad golfer carded an opening six-under-par 66 for a one shot lead on Saturday and claimed the Volvo-sponsored event by two shots from Ekurhuleni’s Tyrol Auret and Rowan du Preez with a closing two under 70 on a winning total of eight-under-par 136.

The former professional was absolutely delighted to lift his first silverware and boost his South African Golf Association Mid-Amateur rankings.

“I have won a lot of Mid-Amateur tournaments in the Free State, but I have been knocking on national level for so long, that I really thought it would never happen,” Fourie said. “I actually stopped counting my top 10 finishes, but if you consider that I’ve represented South African on Mid-Amateur level and made the team two years in a row on merit, you can do the math.

“It’s a great feeling to finally lift a trophy. It kind of confirms for me that I do have what it takes to win and now I just want to go on to bigger and greater things.”

Fourie, 41, said the course was very well set up for the players and the recent rain also improved the playing conditions.

“The tees weren’t set back on all the holes, so the guys did consider the fact that we’re not 20-year-olds anymore that can whack the ball a mile,” he said.

“The area also had a lot of rain before the tournament and that meant the fairways and greens were quite receptive. You could take on a tee shot and not live in fear that the ball would pitch and roll into the rough. Overall, the scores were pretty good, but I definitely made things easier for myself with the opening 66, especially with Tyrol and Rowan chasing in the second round.”

Auret, who ranks second in the current rankings, carded an opening even-par 72 and turned up the heat in the second round when he dipped six shots under par. Du Preez was equally impressive with rounds of 68 and 70.

As expected, the country’s top ranked mid-amateur golfer, Graeme Watson, was also in the mix.

Watson has dominated the winner’s circle this season. He lifted the Ekurhuleni and Southern Cape Mid-Amateur Open titles and he shared the spoils with KwaZulu-Natal’s Elton James at the PH Fuel Highveld Mid-Amateur Open (the tournament had to be called off due to bad light).

The Ebotse golfer carded rounds of 68 and 72 to finish in a tie for fifth on four-under-par 140 with Wingate Park’s Pieter Cooper, who returned rounds of 67 and 73. The duo finished one shot behind Modderfontein’s Grant Wood, who took fourth on his own with rounds of 71 and 68.

Fourie shot from 12th to third in the South African Golf Association’s Mid-Amateur rankings, a jump that has further inspired the Free State golfer ahead of the Volvo-sponsored SA Mid-Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Stellenbosch Golf Club from 6-10 May.

“Winning this close to the SA Mid-Amateur Stroke Play means I need have to ride this form and give myself a chance in the tournament,” he said.

“I’ve never played the Stellenbosch course before but it’s a former SA Open venue, so it is bound to be tough. I’ll go down a few days before the tournament, so I can have at least four practice rounds to get used to the layout.

“Last year I was in with a shout but I finished ninth, so this year, I want to give myself enough chances to win.”

TOP 10 RESULTS

136 Josef Fourie (Hoopstad, FS) 66-70

138 Tyrol Auret (Ebotse, EK) 72-66; Rowan du Preez (Benoni CC) 68-70

139 Grant Wood (Modderfontein, CG) 71-68

140 Graeme Watson (Ebotse, EK) 68-72; Pieter Cooper (Wingate Park, GN) 67-73

141 Niekie Reyneke (Bloemfontein, FS) 70-71; Clifton Stanley (Akasia, GN) 71-70

142 Barry Crouse (Wingate Park, GN) 74-68; Martin Kraft (Wingate Park, GN) 69-73; Brian Peterson (ERMP, EK) 69-73; Bennie van Loggerenberg (Akasia, GN) 69-73

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