Froneman wins Glacier Junior Series Final
Ekurhuleni’s Jason Froneman completed his march to victory at the Glacier Junior Series National Final in superb fashion, holing out for a birdie at the last to put the finishing touch on a four-shot triumph at Hermanus Golf Club on Friday.
Froneman added a 71 to his opening three-under-par 69 for a winning total of four-under-par 140, but it was only when his final putt dropped that the 16-year-old Kempton Park golfer realised the thunderous applause from his peers was meant for him.
“I didn’t have a clue was still leading when we got to the 18th,” he said. “We didn’t have any leaderboards on the course and I didn’t know what anyone was shooting outside our three-ball.
“I just focused on keeping my round below par and then to nail that putt at the last hole, just in case a playoff was on the cards.”
His playing partners both carded 73s, but Philip Kruse edged out Carlo O’Reilly for sole second on even-par. The Pretoria golfer came close to breaking par, but incurred a one-shot penalty at the 12th hole for causing his ball to move.
O’Reilly from Atlantic Beach golfer settled for a share of third alongside Meyer Pauw from Stellenbosch (72) and Delmas golfer Christiaan Bezuidenhout, whose four-under-par 68 was matched only by Dainfern’s Shane Martin.
Froneman was delighted with the victory, especially after seizing the lead on Thursday and holding on despite the pressure from his playing partners.
“The wind was so brutal on Thursday and I was really proud of how I handled the conditions,” he said.
“Today was another huge test for me because I’ve never had to hold my nerve like this. Both Philip and Carlo were chasing me and I didn’t know what the rest of the guys were shooting.
“I think, going into the final round, I was probably the least likely guy to pull off the win given the conditions and coming from Gauteng. I feel like I’ve passed some really big examinations this week and reached a whole new level in my game.
“That’s exactly what this Glacier Junior Series is about; to give us the chance to test ourselves and push ourselves. I’m really proud that I was able to hold my game together to win.”
For his efforts, Froneman bagged one of junior golf’s biggest prizes; an all-expense paid trip from Glacier by Sanlam to the 2012 Orange Bowl Junior Invitational.
“Right now, I’m just enjoying the moment,” he said. “I’m so thankful for the opportunities Glacier by Sanlam and the Ekurhuleni Golf Union gave me this year to take my game to the next level.
“It will take a while before it sinks in that I’m off to the United States in December. At least I still have two months of practice left before I have to tee it up against the top junior golfers in the world.”
Meanwhile Eliaz Hadad from Country Club Johannesburg had his own reasons to celebrate.
The 17-year-old hugged the bottom of the leaderboard after an opening 94, but he rebounded with a second 74.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a 20-shot swing in two rounds in my entire golfing career and I can’t tell you how sweet to play decently today,” said Hadad. “I was in for a lot of playful teasing from the guys, but I had never played at the coast before, so I was totally unprepared for the conditions on Thursday.
“I was really glad I could redeem myself today. That 74 felt like a 59 after that first round 94. Playing in this tournament has been a great experience for me and it showed me how much I still have to learn. I will definitely go and work on those low shots the Cape Town guys hit when I get home.”
140 Jason Froneman 69-71
144 Philip Kruse 71-73
145 Carlo O’Reilly 72-73; Meyer Pauw 73-72; Christiaan Bezuidenhout 77-68
148 Johann Germishuys 73-75; Shane Martin 80-68
150 Ian Snyman 75-75
152 Combrinck Smit 76-76
153 Darin de Smidt 77-76; Dean Martin 78-75; Kemal Palanduz 78-75
155 Slade Fick 78-77
156 Deniz Palanduz 77-79; Keelan van Wyk 82-74
157 Tristen Strydom 75-82; Stephen Allen 81-76
158 Mentz Germishuis 76-82
161 Aubrey Kok 79-82
163 Roy Gobey 80-83
164 Brian Wessels 77-87
165 Attie van Wyk 87-78
168 Eliaz Hadad 94-74
172 Lara Weinstein 87-85
173 Jacques Swarts 81-92