By Kent Gray
Stefan Wears-Taylor doesn’t do regrets and especially not when it comes to his golf. That’s why the newly minted UAE PGA Order of Merit (OOM) champion is heading home to South Africa for a tilt at the touring life.
He’s had a ball as assistant teaching professional at Al Zorah G.C. in Ajman for the past two years but his successful defence of the UAE PGA Championship on Tuesday, to sew up the season-long OOM title in style, reinforced the decision to have a crack at playing full-time. The 21-year-old will return to his home town of Pretoria in mid-May and begin playing the IGT Challenge Tour from July. It’s a development circuit, now aligned with the Big Easy Tour and a stepping-stone to South Africa’s main Sunshine Tour which Wears-Taylor hopes to crack via Q-School next March.
“If I leave it, never do it, I know I’ll regret it in 10 years time, like woah, why didn’t I at least try,” said Wears-Taylor of the next chapter in a life which included marrying Rochelle last August.
“My wife and I, we’re pretty happy where we are in life and it will be nice to return home, be back around family to help us, a nice base and I can crack on. The IGT is a great tour, about where the MENA Tour was two or three years ago. There’s good players, all hungry for success so hopefully I can get a few results to get ready for Q-School and get onto the Sunshine Tour.”
He hasn’t committed yet but is likely to return to the club of his boyhood, Woodhill Country Club, and intends finishing the final year of his three-year PGA training to ensure he has something to fall back on if the touring life doesn’t work out.
But the way he’s played in the UAE the last two years – he’s backed up a four-win rookie season with a four more titles this 2017-18 season – he looks to have the goods to have a decent nudge in the play for your mortgage ranks.
Wears-Taylor backed up an opening 67 in the UAE PGA’s flagship event at Arabian Ranches with a one-over 73 on Tuesday to finish -4, a stroke ahead of Trump Dubai pro Mike Bolt who finished with wet sails with a 68. Shane Peacock (Al Ain) was third on -2 while UAE PGA chief executive Luke Plump (Even) and Malcolm Young (+2) rounded out the top five.
“I’m stoked about it,” Wears-Taylor said of his successful defence at Arabian Ranches. “Especially as it’s my last strokeplay event out here. When you see a player like [Abu Dhabi G.C. director of golf] Callum Nicoll’s name on the trophy two years in a row, to sort of be in that category, it’s pretty special.”