kamte wins big in Bangkok

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Celebrated South African golfer James Kamte did not have an ideal start to his 2009 campaign after failing to defend his Dimension Data Pro-Am title in Sun City last month.

He came second to Deane Pappas in this R1,8 million tournament that ended on January 25, but he refused to be demoralised.

It only served to motivate him further.

A fired-up Kamte then jetted off to Bangkok where he put on a courageous display in winning his maiden Asian Tour International in great fashion on Sunday.

The popular South African golfer overcame the challenge of Tetsuji Hiratsuka, closing with a five-under 66 for a 16- under-par 268 total to win the season-opening Asian Tour event.

He beat the Japanese golfer who was among the favourites to win the event, by two shots, collecting $47550 (about R720000) for his sterling effort.

The win has inspired Kamte for the Maybank Malaysia Open, which he will compete in on Thursday.

"I'm in high spirits and looking forward to another good display here in Malaysia," Kamte told Sowetan shortly after arriving in Malaysia yesterday.

His busy schedule abroad will include the Johnnie Walker Golf Classic in Australia next week.

He will then be off to Indonesia to take part in the Indonesian Open, the event he came third in last year.

"I will then come back home to prepare myself for other competitions," Kamte said.

"I really feel great to win my maiden Asian Tour International and this will go a long way in motivating me.

"I made good preparations for this event and I just kept on going in my preparations to be in good shape in Bangkok.

"I felt good before, during and after the tournament. God also gave me strength to succeed in this tournament.

"It is like a dream come true for me to win my maiden Asian Tour event.

"I will continue to work even harder to get more accolades abroad," he said.