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Homann braced for SA Mid-Amateur defence

06 May 2013

SA Mid-Amateur Stroke Play defending champion Neil Homann; credit Dale Boyce

Neil Homann will launch his SA Mid-Amateur Stroke Play Championship title defence when the prestigious Volvo-sponsored tournament tees off at Stellenbosch Golf Club on Tuesday.

The 43-year-old Wanderers golfer captured the coveted mid-amateur title in emphatic style at Vaal de Grace last year when he held off a spirited final round charge from the country’s top ranked mid-amateur  Graeme Watson to win by three strokes.

Homann will have another strong field to contend against in this year’s tournament, including Gauteng North Mid-Amateur Cameron Johnson from the Western Cape, FS&NC Mid-Amateur Open champion Josef Fourie from Free State & Northern Cape, as well as Watson, already a three-time winner this season.

The Ebotse Golf and Country Estate golfer won the Ekurhuleni Mid-Amateur Open in February, the Southern Cape Mid-Am/Senior Open in March and shared the spoils at the Highveld Mid-Amateur with KwaZulu-Natal’s Elton James in April, after play was called off due to failing light with the pair tied for the lead.

In addition the South African Golf Association’s Mid-Amateur rankings leader, the field is studded with top ranked players.

Second ranked Tyrol Auret and third ranked Rowan du Preez from Ekurhuleni should pose a strong challenge, as well as Central Gauteng’s Steve Williams, ranked fourth, and fifth ranked Alexander Cooper from Gauteng North.

The local challenge will be led by Stellenbosch golfers Jahndre du Toit, Anton Oosthuizen, Hendrik Pieters, Nieuwoudt Heerschap and Johan van Rooyen.

Given the strength of the field and the fact that Homann has not spent as much time on the course as last year, the defending champion knows it will be a tough week.

“Unlike last year, I haven’t played much golf this year, because I’ve been involved in the running of a lot of SAGA tournaments,” the SAGA Assistant Executive Director said. “I don’t feel as prepared as last year and the practice round showed that I need to do some work.

“I’m not going to put myself under too much pressure. If I can claim a top 10 finish this week, I will have done well and that is my goal.”

Eighth-ranked Fourie had never played the 72-hole championship layout and arrived early to fit in a few practice rounds at the course.

“This course has hosted several South African Open Championships and SA Masters,” he said. “I came down early so I could take a really good look at the course and it lives up to its reputation.

“I think the local guys might have a slight advantage this week, because the region had a lot of rain last week, so the course is playing very long and there is not much roll in the fairways.

“Hopefully the organisers will have mercy and won’t put us off the back tees every day. The greens are superb, though. They roll very true and if you can get on the right side of the pin, you can get some birdies out there.”

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