Roux rakes in SA Mid-Amateur Championship double

2016SAMAC_GerlouRoux2_GNGUTSHWANE, 9 May 2016 –Western Province’s Gerlou Roux staved off Shaun Stapleton from Central Gauteng to claim back back-to-back titles in the SA Mid-Amateur Stroke Play Championship last Friday.

“I guess I got a jump on that old adage that life begins at 40; if 39 is this good, I can’t wait to hit the forties,” jested the Bellville golfer after he sealed a two stroke victory on eight under 280 with rounds of 68, 73, 68 and 71 at Silver Lakes Country Club in Pretoria.

Roux swept to a four shot triumph last year, but this time around, the country’s number one ranked mid-amateur said victory tasted a whole lot sweeter.

“It’s taken a few days to sink in, because it was mentally a lot tougher to go the full distance this year,” said the owner of Apex Risk Services from his office in Cape Town on Monday.

“When I set myself a goal to represent South Africa on both the Open Amateur and Mid-Amateur circuits last year, I couldn’t even describe the feeling when I achieved it. But like most of the guys on the mid-amateur circuit, I hold down a full-time job and that had to take priority this year.

“I came into the tournament knowing that I have a target on my back. It was really tight at the top over the four rounds. I kept my head down and got the job done and that’s why this win feels so much more special.”

Roux started the final round with a one stroke edge over Stapleton and a two shot lead on Central Gauteng golfer Ryan Dreyer.

“I knew the last round would be tough,” Roux said. “When you have three ex-Sunshine Tour pros going head-to-head, it was always going to be an extreme test of patience and willpower.”

Roux burst from the blocks with a birdie, but short-sided himself at the second hole.

“There is a tree right in the middle of the fairway at this par five,” he said. “I hit a good tee shot, but the ball just kept going straight and it finished up a few inches from the trunk of the tree. My only option was to punch out, but I still had 210 meters to the pin. I took my medicine and moved on.”

Roux notched birdies at seven and 10 and had a two shot lead on Stapleton when the pair reached the par four 17th.

“I pulled my tee shot in the rough,” Roux said. “With the pin at the back of the island green, I decided to lay up rather than go for the pin. I hit a decent chip, but I missed the par putt.

“Shaun nearly flew the green, but his ball stayed up. His chip landed two feet from the hole and he holed the putt to save par. Going to 18, my lead was cut to one and I was going to go all out. Shaun played first and hit his tee shot in the hazard on the right.

“I knew he would struggle to save par, so I put the driver back in the bag, took out a rescue and a more conservative approach. All I needed was a regulation five to win.”

Roux parred the hole to seal victory, Stapleton made six for a 72 to finish sole second and Dreyer closed with a 74 to take third on 285.

“I beat kids more than half my age to reach the number one spot in the rankings and it was a huge deal for me when I reached my goal to represent South Africa on both circuits last year, but when you start knocking on the door to 40, you have to make some sacrifices,” Roux said.

“We are not a bunch of has-beens and that’s why I love the mid-amateur circuit. Age definitely hasn’t slowed us down. In fact, quite the opposite. The standard on the mid-amateur circuit keeps improving and with the age limit lowered to 30, there are some new kids on the block looking to impress.

“We have a very healthy, highly competitive circuit that allows us to compete at the highest level. You just have to look at the scoreboard to see that we are still as competitive now as we were in our teens and twenties.

“Now that I have back-to-back wins, I’m going to try and get my hat-trick. Winning two in a row is absolute blessing and to win three times would be unbelievable, but the guys will make it very tough for me. It’s a nice goal to have, though.”

280 Gerlou Roux 68 73 68 71
282 Shaun Stapleton 68 71 71 72
285 Ryan Dreyer 71 70 70 74
288 Elton James 69 73 70 76
290 Robert Gouws 68 75 74 73
291 Jannie Bronkhorst 74 72 74 71; Josef Fourie 70 76 70 75
292 Johann Nel 75 72 72 73; Danie Viljoen 72 75 74 71
294 Dylan Keylock 76 74 72 72; Pieter Cooper 75 74 71 74
295 Alex van Heerden 75 76 69 75
297 Donovan Pearse 75 75 73 74; Cameron Johnston 70 81 74 72
298 Gustav Verster 73 76 74 75; David Muller 72 74 75 77
299 Stefan Blommaert 77 74 76 72
300 Johan du Toit 77 78 75 70; Sean Olfsen 74 73 80 73; Sean Quigley 71 81 77 71

PHOTO – 2016 SA Mid-Amateur Championship winner Gerlou Roux; credit Ernest Blignault