Does the best Mid-Amateur golfer in the world reside in South Africa?
27 Feb 2024
by Justin Golba of

see also: Altin Van Der Merwe Rankings

Altin Van Der Merwe at the Africa Amateur Championship (Royal and Ancient Photo)
Altin Van Der Merwe at the Africa Amateur Championship (Royal and Ancient Photo)

When it comes to Mid-Amateur golf, you won’t look far before you come across the name Altin Van Der Merwe of South Africa.

Van Der Merwe is currently ranked No. 2 in the Mid-Amateur rankings and has played some of the best golf in the world over the last couple of seasons. His play earned him the honor of 2023 AGC Mid-Am Player of the Year.

The 2023 AGC Mid-Am Player of the Year: Altin Van Der Merwe

Van Der Merwe was a lightning rod in 2023, winning three times in rankings events and five times total in South Africa. He won the Kwazulu Natal Match Play, the Western Province Amateur, and the Boland Amateur Stroke Play. 

In 2023, Van Der Merwe earned points in 17 rankings points events, posting a tour-like stroke average of 69.6 in 57 rounds of golf. He finished with 30 rounds in the 60s and finished the season as the No. 1 player in South Africa, per GolfRSA.

He also recorded a runner-up finish in the Scottish Open Amateur, a T10 finish in the Brabazon Trophy, a T12 in the St Andrews Links Trophy, and a Final 32 finish in the British Amateur.

He represented South Africa with World No. 4 Christo Lamprecht and World No. 10 Christiaan Maas in the World Amateur Team Championship in Abu Dhabi in October, helping the team to its best finish since 1982.

He was the only amateur to make the cut in the South African Open in November, finishing better than his national teammates Lamprecht and Maas and others, and won the Freddie Tait Cup. He joined a legendary group of South Africans to win this honor, including Bobby Locke, Ernie Els, and Trevor Immelman.

Van der Merwe recorded 5650 points towards Player of the Year, with Matthew McClean in second place with 4400. Gregor Tait, Stewart Hagestad, and Evan Beck rounded out the top five in the standings. 

McClean won the AGC Mid-Amateur Player of the Year In 2022, and Stewart Hagestad won the honor in 2017, 2019, and 2021. 

So far in 2024, Van Der Merwe has finished T6 at the South African Stroke Play, made match play at the South African Amateur Championship, T2 at the Free State Open, and won the GolfRSA International Amateur and the African Amateur in back-to-back weeks. 

“It’s awesome to be the new Africa Amateur Champion. It’s an unbelievable feeling, but I don’t think it’ll kick in until later,” Van Der Merwe said after his round to the R&A.

With the win at the Inaugural Africa Amateur Championship, Van Der Merwe will get a chance to test his skill against the top players in the game at the Open Championship at Royal Troon.

“I can't wait to play in The Open,” Van Der Merwe said to the R&A. “Honestly, I can't wait. It's links golf as well, so I'm going to be licking my chops out there with just a little sting two iron all day, and I just can't wait until the time comes.”

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