Locke Shines for Top Five in South Africa

Reigning Scottish Amateur champion Sam Locke started his season strongly with a fine showing at the South African Stroke Play Championship.

Stonehaven’s Locke, who triumphed in the Amateur at Prestwick last summer, finished in a tie for fifth place on 18 under par (270) after rounds of 69, 68, 65 and 68 at Pecanwood Golf & Country Club in Hartebeespoortdam.

Overall, superb Swede Oliver Gillberg took the title. He began with a 10-foot birdie putt and tapped in for par at the final hole to put the lowest 72-hole score (261) in the 49 year history of the South African Stroke Play Championship next to his name in the record books.

A winning total of total of 27-under-par 261 saw Gillberg the previous record set by Richard Sterne at Oppenheimer Park in 2001 by five strokes. “It’s been an unbelievable week; unforgettable,” Gilbert said, reading the names of the previous champions on the trophy’s base. “This is definitely the best week of my life.”

Thanks to the continued support from the Alfred Dunhill Links Foundation, Scotland’s new look amateur squads are in South Africa to compete and build for the season ahead.

The competitive winter camp, which is also supported by national team sponsors Aberdeen Standard Investments, coupled with funding from sportscotland, features a group of female golfers for the first time, with nine players – including four teenagers – travelling to the Rainbow Nation to take part in the leading events on the South African amateur circuit.

Cawder’s Calum Fyfe finished as next best Scot on 275, Darren Howie of Peebles on 277 and Euan Walker from Kilmarnock Barassie on 279.

The Scots are bidding for more success in South Africa, after Liam Johnston’s win in the African Amateur last March. Dumfries’ Johnston this week won his first event as a professional on the ProGolf Tour with victory in the Open Prestigia in Morocco.

Photo credit: Ernest Blignault