Kamte eyes SA Open history

2009-11-10 10:31
James Kamte (File)

Cape Town - James Kamte has confirmed his place in the 99th South African Open golf championship, joining a strong contingent of young South Africans at Pearl Valley Golf Estates in December.

With this year's Championship focusing on its status as a tournament "Where Legends Are Born", Kamte is well placed to live up to this billing in a field which includes defending champion Richard Sterne, and young stars Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Thomas Aiken and Branden Grace.

Kamte has been at the forefront of the youthful South African onslaught worldwide this year. Only a week after he tied for 12th at the European Tour co-sanctioned Joburg Open in January, Kamte claimed the fourth card on offer at the Asian Tour Qualifying School, playing the final two rounds with 12 stitches in his right foot.

He began his rookie year on the Asian Tour in spectacular fashion, lifting his maiden title at the season-opening Asian Tour International in Thailand.

His year also included a debut performance in the US Open and The Memorial on the PGA Tour.

"My goal is to win tournaments, especially Majors," says Kamte.

"But just like every other South African golfer out there, I also dream of lifting the SA Open trophy one day.

"To add your name to the list of winners on that trophy is almost unimaginable. It's the most prestigious title any South African golfer can win and it's something I've dreamt about since I started playing golf seriously."

Since turning professional in 2003, Kamte claimed his maiden victory on the Sunshine Tour four years later with a come-from-behind win in the Seekers Travel Pro-Am in 2007.

His biggest breakthrough was a victory in the 2008 Dimension Data Pro-Am, where he beat former SA Open champion James Kingston and became the first South African black professional to win on the Sunshine Tour's Summer Swing.

Kamte earned his third title at the Highveld Classic in 2008 and finished the season in 11th place on the Sunshine Tour's Order of Merit, his highest ranking to date, shortly after securing his European Tour card for 2009.

Although he faces a return trip to the European Tour's Qualifying School in November, Kamte currently ranks within the top-20 on the Sunshine Tour's money list and his Asian Tour card for next season is secured.

"I did a lot of travelling this year, perhaps a little too much," says Kamte.

"I've missed a lot of cuts this season, but I've learnt a lot and I believe I'm a better golfer now than I was in January.

"But I know I can win again, it's just a question of time. There are a lot of people rooting for me to become the first black South African to win the SA Open. It would be a tremendous achievement for me.

"I think it would serve as enormous motivation for every other black golfer out there to see a black player crowned as the SA Open winner.

"That would be an incredible honour, to be the first."



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