South Africa-bound quartet inspired by Heath heroics

Jake Bolton insists every England player has been inspired by watching Charlotte Heath’s brilliant victory in the Australian Women’s Amateur Championship.

Bolton (pictured above) is part of a strong England contingent announced today for four prestigious tournaments in South Africa next month.

Alongside 21-year-old Bolton from Wiltshire , Sam Bairstow (21) from Yorkshire, Gloucestershire’s Joe Long (22) and Northamptonshire’s Robin Williams (18) will all represent England.

The men will compete at the African Amateur Championship, South African Stroke Play Championship, South African Amateur Championship and Cape Province Open on consecutive weeks throughout February.

On Sunday, women’s squad player Heath put in a dominant performance to win the Australian Amateur title and set the ball rolling on what could be a fantastic year of golf for England’s elite players.

And Bolton hopes the men can continue the early-season charge when they land on African soil early next month and emulate the play of their England colleague.

Bolton said: “Charlotte’s win in Australia was a great way to start the year.

“When you see other England players doing well on the world stage it just makes you want to add to the success story.

“I know the four lads going to South Africa are all desperate to do well and hopefully get their hands on more silverware.

“This will be my first time in South Africa, but we have some experience on the team with Joe (pictured below) having played over there a couple of times.

“Robin was born in South Africa and I know he’s looking forward to competing and Sam makes up a strong four.

“It would be terrific to carry on the good work of Charlotte and do well in the four events we’re playing in.”

The month tees off with a trip to a course on the southernmost tip of the the Kruger National Park for the African Amateur Championship at Leopard Creek Country Club between 3-6 February.

Next comes a visit to Johannesburg for two events.

First up there is the South African Stroke Play Championship at Randpark Golf Club between 10-13 February.

Three days after the conclusion of that event, the South African Amateur Championship will be staged at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.

A month of top-class amateur golf finishes between 24-26 February with the Sanlam Cape Province Open at Kingswood Golf Estate near George.

Bolton has just returned from playing in the South American Amateur Championship in Chile and has high hopes for himself and his team-mates in Africa.

He added: “I think we’re spoiled with the quality of course we’ll be playing. Leopard Creek hosted the South African Open a few weeks ago and the other courses have a fine reputation.

“Playing in these events is great experience. I learned a lot travelling to Chile – not only in terms of adapting to different course conditions but dealing with the aspects of travel.

“I ended up finishing 11th in Chile, but it was frustrating as I holed no significant putts all week.

“I didn’t putt badly – I missed one putt under six foot all week. But reading greens was an issue and I hope that things can change in South Africa.”

Photograph credit: Leaderboard photography