SA Juniors win Triangular Invitational
South Africa’s top juniors claimed an emphatic victory over their peers from the SAGDB and Scottish Golf Union National Squad in the fourth Triangular Invitational at Randpark Golf Club on Tuesday.
Outstanding performances from the junior side saw them beat the Scots 11½ - 6½ and the SAGDB team 15-3 for a total score of 26½ points.
The visiting Scots, winners in 2011 and 2012, took second place on 22½ points, while the SAGDB side finished on five points.
But the score line does not quite do justice to the gritty fight from the Scots in the singles or the incredible battle both the Scots and the Juniors had to endure to hold off the development players.
The Junior Proteas took a 5-1 lead into the singles against Scotland and won the first four games, but Scottish national side came back hard to win five games and halve one for a 5½-6½ result.
The SAGDB players proved harder to beat in the foursomes and the SA Juniors took a mere 4-2 lead into the singles.
The development players put up a brave fight and four games went to the 17th and 18th holes, but juniors held their ground to pull through for an 11-1 victory. Aslam Mallick gained the SAGDB’s only point when James du Preez with drew due to injury.
In the match between Scotland and the SAGDB, the visitors could also do no better than a 4-2 lead in the foursomes. Again, the development players showed incredible determination, with the first three matches going the distance.
George teenager Franklin Manchest claimed the last spot in the SAGDB side after beating 23 other Elite Squad players at a qualifier during the Elite Squad’s first training camp held at the World of Golf on Monday.
The 14-year-old Southern Cape golfer and his partner Mallick beat South Africa’s David Meyers and Kyle McClatchie 1-up in the foursomes and scored a 1-up victory over Scotland’s Connor O’Neil and Ewan Scott.
Manchest was beaten 4&2 in the singles by Paul Boshoff and lost his match against O’Neill at the 18th, but the young player said the experience was reward enough.
“I was really proud when I was selected for the National Elite Squad, but I never thought in a million years that I would get the chance to play at this level,” the Southern Cape golfer gushed.
“Losing really sucks, especially after our foursomes, but it was such a fantastic experience to tee it up against these players and that’s all I can think about. Aslam was a great partner in the foursomes and he really helped me deal with the pressure, but I think my nerves cost me the match against Connor.
“But that’s all right, because the more I play in tournaments like these, the better I’m going to get because I’ll learn how to deal with the pressure.”
Team manager Andre Rossouw said this year’s debutants were really impressed by the perseverance and determination of SA Juniors.
“They were thrilled to go up against the Scots, but it was the juniors who really impressed them and have inspired our new caps,” Rossouw said.
“Franklin Manchest, Boland players Keelan Africa, Winston Adams and Jason Koeries and Siyanda Mwandla from KwaZulu-Natal are the cream of the crop of the development players in our programme. They have all competed at provincial level and they really enjoyed going up against the top South African juniors.
“They are hungry for competition and they are at the stage now where they want to play these guys regularly. They want to improve and to learn and this Triangular Invitational experience will give them some great motivation.
“Personally, looking at the talent I watched out there on the course, I think South African junior golf is going to produce an amazing amount of champions in the future.”