When Jamie Bower joined his team mates from the English Golf Union Elite Squad on a two-month trip to South Africa in early January, the Yorkshire player had no idea that his off-season training would pay off such handsome dividends.
Bower made an immediate impression with a one stroke victory in the Gauteng North Open and following a tie for third in the African Amateur Stroke Play Championship, the Englishman added another prestigious trophy to his suitcase when he edged claimed the Southern Cape Open on Sunday.
The 22-year-old Meltham golfer carded rounds of 70, 68, 70 and 68 at Mossel Bay Golf Club to edge out local favourite Jovan Rebula by three strokes.
Bower began the third round one off the pace from Gauteng North’s Jason Smith and Southern Cape junior Alex van Wyk.
He offset a lone bogey with a hat-trick of birdies to stay in touch with the leaders and reversed four bogeys in the final round with half-a-dozen gains to triumph on 12-under-par 276.
The former North of England Youths champion has enjoyed a number of podium finishes, but described his success in Mossel Bay as ‘the most pleasing.”
“I’ve never had a great game in the wind, but I’ve improved quite a bit over the last couple of years and it was great to get tested like this and come out winning,” he said.
“At times the wind was at least three clubs strong, and I take a lot of confidence out of my course management in those conditions. I think this bodes really well for the Sanlam Cape Province Open next week, which will our last event ahead of the Sanlam SA Amateur Championship.”
The English Golf Union chose two squads – one to play Australia and one to play in South Africa – and Bower was selected to tour South Africa.
“Before I came out here, I had no idea that the SA Stroke Play and SA Amateur Championships are so prestigious,” he said.
“Every top player from South Africa has won the SA Stroke Play or SA Amateur or both and it would be a huge honour to see your name be engraved next to Major winners like Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Trevor Immelman.
“I’m looking forward to another productive week at Kingswood in the Sanlam Cape Province Open and then I hope to take my A-game to George Golf Club.”