Since finishing fourth at the Sunshine Tour Qualifying School a lot has been proven by Haydn Porteous (@HaydnPorteous) and he now sits at the top of the Rookie of the Year race. Over the next half a year the he’ll look to cement the title of best newcomer 2014.
There is an air about Porteous, who at first indication is a quiet but friendly 19-year-old who spends much of his time on tour with fellow young contenders such as Michael Hollick, Jared Harvey and Graham van der Merwe.
The life on tour is a far cry from his days as South Africa’s number one amateur, during which time he won both the 2012 and 2013 SA Amateur Stroke Play Championship.
These days it’s about making cuts and keeping pace with the talented players of the Sunshine Tour, which he’s achieved to good effect during his rookie season. At 23rd on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit and more than R65,000 ahead in the Rookie Race there is almost nothing average about his season thus far.
And he’s nearly broken through twice this year, most notably at the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open, where he carried a four shot lead into the final round. His decision to take driver from the first tee was a learning experience and he went on to finish third behind Jbe’ Kruger and Jacques Blaauw, who finished first and second, respectively.
A week later Porteous played his way into the Investec Royal Swazi Open through pre-qualifying and went on to finish sole fifth. He picked up another top-five three weeks after that when he tied for fifth at the Zambia Sugar Open.
Last week at Lost City Golf Course he carded rounds of 68, 70, 69 to finish sole second, but his final round score doesn’t depict the fireworks that he displayed. Porteous made his fifth birdie of the day at the 16th to go five deep for the round and at that stage he led by one, but an untimely double-bogey at the 17th would be his undoing.
He none-the-less played well enough last week to finish sole second and with that result overtook Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard as the top-earning rookie of the 2014 season.
Porteous has displayed prodigious talent during his rookie season and has confidence from his lead in the Rookie of the Year race. He'll surely win on tour, the only thing in doubt is when he’ll do it.