SA team claim victory at All-Africa Junior Champs
The South African under-19 Junior Team withstood a spirited final round challenge from Zimbabwe to score a comprehensive 31 shot victory at the All-Africa Junior Golf Championships at the Gaborone Golf Club on Thursday.
With a successful title defence in mind, the South African juniors were disappointed when they shared the lead with Zimbabwe on 218 after the first round. But the promising amateurs found their stride during round two and, by the end of the third round, held a demanding 28 shot lead over Zimbabwe.
South African Golf Association president Colin Burger said that the team understood exactly what was required in the final round to bring the victory home.
“We knew the Zimbabweans and even the Namibians in third would come at us guns blazing,” he said. “We held a massive lead but we needed cool heads and no heroics for the final round. I’m very proud of the way the boys stood up and delivered.”
Western Province amateur Dylan Raubenheimer carded an even-par 71, which was backed up by three 72s from Zander Lombard from Gauteng North, Ekurhuleni’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Western Province’s Ian Snyman.
The South Africa’s final score of 845 ensured a 31 shot victory over Zimbabwe and was 43 shots better than third-placed Namibia.
But even Burger didn’t expect such a landslide victory.
“We were very impressed last year when our team beat Namibia by 16 shots,” he said. “We thought that was a landslide victory, but I think these boys have given that word new meaning. They nearly doubled that margin this year.
“The team was, in a word, impressive. What really struck me was how well they combined and supported each other. If there was a guy in trouble out there, three others stepped up to make sure the job got done.”
Although the All-Africa Junior Golf Championships drew entries from 10 countries, including South Africa, hosts Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Kenya, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia, Ivory Coast and Mauritius, the South Africans also dominated the Individual competition with Bezuidenhout edging out Raubenheimer by five shots to win the title with rounds of 75-68-65-72.
By way of their triumph, South Africa qualified to send a team to Japan for the World Junior Golf Championships later this year. “But that is still a few months away, so let’s give them a chance to celebrate and enjoy their victory first.”
SOUTH AFRICAN SCORES:
280 Christiaan Bezuidenhout 75-68-65-72
283 Dylan Raubenheimer 74-69-71-71
288 Zander Lombard 75-72-69-72
290 Ian Snyman 69-80-69-72