Taylor stands his ground at SA Open

Louis Taylor does not play too often with the pros, but when he does, he’s shown quite capable of upstaging them.

Taylor was one of a handful of amateurs who enjoyed automatic exemption from the custodians of the South African Open Championship – the South African Golf Association – to play in the 103rd edition at Glendower.

After rounds of 71 and 70, he is tied for 40th on three-under-par and the only amateur left standing after the cut eliminated SA number one Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Zander Lombard, NJ Arnoldi and reigning Sanlam SA Amateur champion Thriston Lawrence.

Taylor outplayed both his playing partners and his scores in distinguished company suggests that he’s ready to join the ‘big time’

“Desvonde (Botes) and Lyle (Rowe) struggled a bit in the first round, but it was great playing with them,” said Taylor. “They were both very easy to play with and I felt very comfortable out there.

“I had one drop after a bad tee shot, although I wasn’t happy with the way I was hitting it today. I hit a couple of tee shots off line but not too far off line. When you get your tee shots in play your irons come into play and then you can hit a lot of greens in that way.”

On the question if he is ready to win, Taylor is honest about his abilities.

“I don’t think I’m ready to win, but I think the time has come for me to turn pro,” said Taylor. “I need to take my game and then go to the Sunshine Tour School in January. I know it is going to be tough and the way the Sunshine Tour works, you know you are going to be in for a tough year with all the qualifiers, but then you just need to wait for a break. If it happens early in the year, that’s great but if it doesn’t, you just have to grind it out.”

Taylor and his twin brother Eddie are well-known around country as keen golfers and they count among South Africa’s leading amateurs.

The Taylors were born in Harrismith in the Free State Province and then schooled at Hilton College, KwaZulu-Natal. There their sporting talent came to the fore and both were capped for the school’s First XI cricket team. They also excelled at hockey and were selected for the under-19 KZN inter-pro side.

Despite their success on the cricket and hockey fields, the Taylors turned to golf when they completed their schooling and relocated to Gauteng, where they attended the Gary Player Golf School of Excellence. The 22-year-olds play out of the Johannesburg Country Club and have established among the leading SA amateurs.

Taylor is pleased that they chose to pursue a career in golf rather than cricket or hockey.

“When one looks at how teams are selected in the country today, we are pleased that we chose golf. Plus, in golf it’s the guy with the best score that wins. It’s up to you to stand up and deliver.”

The Taylors’ rise through the sporting ranks before and after their schooling days has taken them to various parts of the country, but don’t be surprised if cries of ‘Vrystaat’ ring out when next they make their way to the winner’s podium.

And that could well happen as soon as Sunday afternoon, when the Freddie Tait Cup is presented to Taylor as the leading amateur in the South African Open.

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