Links a tough test for Vodacom Origins Final

2008-10-21 00:00

CAPE ST FRANCIS — James Kamte arrived at St Francis Links on the eve of the Vodacom Origins of Golf Tour Final hunting back-to-back victories and armed with a pair of snakeskin shoes that were bold by even full-blooded Texan and director of golf Jeff Clause’s standards.

The shoes were no doubt Kamte’s reward for his victory on the Highveld last week, which has made him feel more comfortable than usual returning for a tournament on his home course which tees off today.

The Final is the culmination of this year’s Vodacom Origins of Golf Tour, which includes a strong field of Sunshine Tour professionals partnered by the amateur champions in the various regional tournaments.

Jean Hugo has already won the overall series title, and the R100 000 that goes with it, by virtue of his 63-point lead, with victory this week worth a maximum of 60 points.

But Hugo as well as Kamte were keen listeners as the amiable Clause discussed the kind of wind the field could expect this week on a golf course that is nothing short of magnificent and which will truly test every aspect of the professionals’ games this week.

In Clause speak, the wind will range from “perky” to “Ster Kinekor”. “Perky” will be the testing westerly Clause predicts for today’s first round. Tomorrow’s second round will be just a “light puff” of an easterly wind. And Friday, when the amateur competition has already been concluded and the professionals face the course on their own in the final round, is Clause’s “Ster Kinekor” day. “It’s going to blow to the extent that you’ll want to go to the movies rather than play golf,” he said.

Titch Moore returns as the defending champion after winning last year’s tournament with seven under par. Ulrich van den Berg is also back to hopefully go one better than his second-place finish. The duo were the only players in the entire field last year to finish the tournament under par.

A golf course of this nature is also a timely tune-up for many of the professionals who have enjoyed successful winters on the Sunshine Tour and are hoping to replicate this on the lucrative summer leg, which begins in November.

Hugo’s 11 top-tens this season, including two victories, place him firmly in the camp of those with big expectations in the summer.

Kamte is also hoping to take his career to another level this summer, along with the likes of George Coetzee, who has also claimed two victories this year, although he has withdrawn from this week’s tournament.

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