Sunshine Tour

Disillusioned Kamte looks to US golf stage

AMBITIOUS: James Kamte hopes to further his golfing career by relocating to Miami. (Luke Walker, Sunshine Tour, Gallo Images)
AMBITIOUS: James Kamte hopes to further his golfing career by relocating to Miami. (Luke Walker, Sunshine Tour, Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Professional golfer James Kamte is so disenchanted with what he refers to as the slow growth of the game in this country that he is considering furthering his professional career in the US.

The 34-year-old Sunshine Tour professional is planning to relocate to Miami, Florida, soon to set up a temporary home there and compete in the PGA Tour.

Kamte feels his golfing career is nowhere near where it was eight years ago, when he was on top of his game. He attributes the decline in form to the current state of professional golf in Mzansi, which he believes has stifled his game.

Many competitions there

“I’ve decided to further my career in the US because professional golf here in South Africa is going backwards instead of growing – and this is affecting my game,” said Kamte.

“While in the US, I’m hoping to compete in the mini tour school and ultimately earn a PGA Tour card”.

Kamte, who was born in the Eastern Cape and is based in Cape Town, said that his decision was influenced by the fact that there were many more golf courses in the US than in South Africa.

He does not intend to take up US citizenship, saying he has a 20-year visa that will allow him to travel to that country to play golf there when he wants to.

“Competing strictly in the US will broaden my scope and improve my game as a professional because there are many competitions there, but there are only a few here at home,” he said.

He added that he had spent two weeks in Miami recently and was optimistic that the area would suit him.

“I’m hoping to live in Miramar, which is situated close to the Trump National Doral Miami – a golf resort. That’s where my golf will hopefully take off,” he said.

Kamte was the toast of the international golfing fraternity in 2009 when he captured the Asian Tour International in Thailand. That made him the first local black golfer to win a big event on the Asian Tour.

His last notable victory at home was at the Sunshine Tour’s BMG Classic at Glendower Golf Club in Edenvale in 2011. He posted a score of nine under-par 207 and beat Dawie van der Walt in a play-off.

Decent scores

Before then, Kamte had a sterling showing on the tour as he captured the Seekers Travel Pro-Am in 2007, plus the Dimension Data Pro-Am and Metmar Highveld Classic, both in 2008.

He also had a great run when he came second in 2008 and 2009 in the Coca-Cola Championship and Dimension Data Pro-Am, respectively, at Sun City’s Gary Player Country Club.

Since then, the player who was at one stage compared to Tiger Woods because of his playing style, has been struggling on the local greens and has been unable to win or post decent scores.

Critics also attributed his slump in form to a lack of discipline on the course, coupled with a reckless lifestyle.

But Kamte said he had learnt a lot from his misery and hoped to become a top golfer in the near future.

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