Barnard gets Nomads SA Boys retribution in Benoni

2024 Nomads SA Boys U-19 Championship winner Charl Barnard at Benoni Country Club; credit GolfRSA.

31 March 2024 – Charl Barnard made amends for a heart-breaking loss in last year’s final to capture the Nomads SA Boys Under-19 Match Play Championship title at Benoni Country Club in March.

Just a year after going down in the final to Pearce Lewin at Pecanwood, the 18-year-old from Centurion Country Club defeated Woodhill’s Fabrizio de Abreu 3 & 2 in the 36-hole final to record the biggest win of his career.

“It’s a great feeling,” the elated Barnard said. “I left Pecanwood last year with a bit of a sour taste in my mouth, so to be able to win it this year is an amazing feeling and I’m really proud of myself.”

Despite a nervy start to the final, where he lost the first two holes, Barnard raced to a 5-up lead through 17 holes, courtesy of a flurry of birdies around the turn.

He then hung tough as De Abreu fought back to bring the deficit back to just one hole through 24 holes.

Charl Barnard vs Fabrizio de Abreu start the 36-hole final of the 2024 Nomads SA Boys U-19 Championship at Benoni Country Club; credit GolfRSA

“That was a big challenge for me mentally, holding up while Fabi fought back,” Barnard said. “I just took a deep breath and stayed in the moment, knowing that I have the skills to get it done. I knew what I needed to do. I just needed to execute my game plan as well as possible, because that was the only thing I could control.”

Barnard responded with birdies on the 25th and 28th holes before a hat trick of birdies from the 30th hole put him within touching distance of the title. When De Abreu bogeyed the 34th hole, the title was finally his.

“Getting up early in the first 18 was huge, because it gave me confidence going into the second 18. Fabi played some great golf, but after getting so close last year, I was determined to get the win.
“It’s a great feeling to get the job done, especially after GolfRSA and the South African Golf Association gave me junior national colours to represent South Africa in the All Africa Junior Teams Championship in April. I look forward to returning to Benoni Country Club and doing my country proud.”

For De Abreu it meant a second runner-up result for the week.

The GolfRSA National Squad member finished second in the tournament’s 72-hole stroke play qualifier after fellow Gauteng North golfer Vian Jansen van Vuuren stole the show with an extraordinary final round march to victory.

2024 Nomads SA Boys U-19 Stroke Play Qualifier winner Vian Jansen van Vuuren at Benoni Country Club; credit GolfRSA.

Jansen van Vuuren was joint second after rounds of 70, 68 and 72 and two shots behind De Abreu heading into the final round, but he found a fifth gear and burned up the course.

The Centurion junior racked up an eagle and six birdies in a bogey-free round of eight-under-par 64 to win by two shots on 14-under-par 274.

“This was probably the best golf I played ever,” Jansen van Vuuren said. “To go up against what is probably the best juniors in the country and to come out holding the trophy is an amazing feeling. The Nomads SA Boys U-19 Stroke Play and Match Championships are the most prestigious events on our junior calendar, and I am stoked to claim my first national victory in this event.”