EKURHULENI, 10 January 2016- When Dainfern junior Cameron Moralee lifted the Freddie Tait Cup as the leading amateur in the BMW South African Open proudly hosted by Ekurhuleni at Glendower Golf Club on Sunday, he immediately paid tribute to tournament host and ambassador Ernie Els for inspiring him.
“The Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation has done so much for young golfers and I was incredibly honoured when I was selected to join the EEFF this year,” Moralee said.
“It was an incredible experience for me to meet Ernie and to have him here at the SA Open this week was amazing. I’m really pleased that I could show Ernie that his believe in me is justified. Holding this trophy is the proudest moment of my career.”
Moralee was always going to be the recipient of the prestigious trophy since he was the only player in the nine-strong amateur contingent to make the 36-hole cut, but he did finish the tournament in style with four birdies in his last six holes to close with a 74 for a two-over-par 290 aggregate.
His attachment to the Els family goes even further than just the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation, as he often plays with Ernie’s nephew Jovan Rebula for Southern Cape.
Together, the pair helped Southern Cape to victory in the A-Division at the SA U-19 Inter-Provincial at Worcester Golf Club in December.
“Winning the Junior IPT was great, but to win the Freddie Tait is extra special,” he said.
“It was really amazing to watch Brandon Stone win the championship and to stand next to him at prize giving. He won the Freddie Tait Cup in 2011 and look what he has achieved. He has really inspired me to reach for the stars.”
Moralee got into the world’s second oldest national open by earning a coveted spot in one of the three qualifiers.
He shot 67 at Kempton Park to finish in a six-way tie and then holed a birdie putt in the ensuing play-off to secure one of just four spots on offer.
“My biggest reward was seeing my dad’s face light up when I boxed that birdie putt,” he recalled Sunday.
“I’m sad I had to miss out on the Leopard Trophy that started today. Only the top 25 ranked juniors in the country were invited to compete and it would have been fantastic to play Leopard Creek, but getting into the SA Open, making the cut and then winning the Freddie Tait Cup – it doesn’t get much better than this.”
The former KeNako Academy player, who played his way into the newly formed Golf RSA National Squad, has just finished matric and is in line to attend Oklahoma State University later this year.
“I’ll be trying for a degree, but it’ll have to be in sports management,” he said with a chuckle.
“I don’t want anything too academic. I’m one of those guys who prefers to go putt that to go study!”
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.