English ace Jamie starts 2016 season in style with two quick-fire victories in ‘Rainbow Nation’
South Africa clearly suits England’s Jamie Bower. The 22-year-old from Yorkshire chalked up an early-season double in the ‘Rainbow Nation’ to start 2016 in style.
Just three weeks after winning the North Gauteng Open at Irene Golf Club, Meltham man Bower swept to victory in the Southern Cape Open at Mossel Bay. Impressively, he also managed to find time to finish third in the African Amateur Championship at Leopard Creek in between those two victories.
“I do seem to like it over here,” aid Bower after his most recent win. “The warm weather is very much a ‘feel good’ factor, so that helps. I put a lot of work into my game leading up to this tour and it’s nice to see some reward for that.”
Bower was one-third of an England squad touring South Africa at the start of the season, alongside Formby’s Paul Kinnear and Alfie Plant of Sundridge Park.
His first victory, in the North Gauteng Open, was hard-fought and came by way of an 18-foot birdie putt at the final hole. That gave him a one-shot win over South African golfer Garrick Higgo, who had been playing in the group ahead of Bower, but bogeyed the last having led for most of the final round.
“I heard a few rumours that Garrick had dropped some shots and that I was tied with him coming up the last,” said Bower. “But I didn’t know for certain so I just tried to make the best score I could and hope it was enough - luckily that was birdie!
“I had a much shorter putt on a similar line in the morning which I holed so I fancied it.”
His second victory was much more comfortable. He broke par in each of the four rounds to finish on 12-under-par, three shots ahead of his closest challenger, South Africa’s Jovan Rebula.
“My putter was really hot all week and I think that was the biggest reason why I was able to score well,” he later noted. “Also it was quite windy all week and I think that gave us English players a slight advantage over the locals as we’re more used to it.”
He added that the victory in the Southern Cape Open was even more pleasing than his previous win because he had been battling some issues with his swing.
“I certainly wasn’t on it, tee to green, as I was at Irene GC. he added. “It was mainly my putter that did the damage this time. So, to still win, despite not quite being at my best with my long game, was really satisfying for me.”
Bower’s good start to the season propelled him into the top 50 of the World Amateur Golf Rankings. As English Club Golfer went to print, he was in 40th place and the second highest English golfer on the standings behind 14th placed Sam Horsfield.