Eight SA Juniors compete in the Gate American Junior this week

Eight South African Juniors arrived at Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida yesterday to compete in the Gate American Junior being played from 20 to 22 December. The players are Lara Weinstein, Izel Pieters, Cara Gorlei, Stephanie Perkins, Lora Assad, Jonathan Botha, Matt Bright and Haydn Porteus.

Participants include many of the world’s top junior players — including the top three boys as ranked by the World Junior Golf Rankings.

Seventy-eight male and female players from 18 countries will battle it out on the resort’s famed Ocean Course, home to five US Open qualifying events. The Gate American Junior is the final event of a four-event series played around the world.

Included in the Gate American Junior field are Cody Proveaux of the United States, who is currently leading the Polo Golf Rankings, Poland’s Adrian Meronck, who is currently ranked number one in the World Junior Golf Rankings and Maximillian Rottluf of Germany, currently ranked number two in the WJGS rankings.

On the girls’ side of the draw are Austria’s Girls` Junior Champion Marina Stuetz, who is currently ranked number four in the World Junior Golf Rankings; South Africa is represented by Lara Weinstein, ranked number six in the World Junior Golf Rankings; and the Hungarian Girls Junior Champion, Csilla Rozsa, ranked 14th in the World Junior Golf Rankings. There are also national teams coming from Mexico, Sweden and Germany.

Competitive rounds will begin at 9:00 AM on December 20 on the first and tenth tees of the Ocean Course. The official practice round will be held on December 19th with tee times beginning at 8:00 AM. The tournament will kick off the evening of December 19 with VIP Opening Ceremonies. Each participating player and their representative nations will be introduce

The WJGS is also responsible for the World Junior Golf Ranking system. Established in July of this year, the World Junior Golf Ranking is the only ranking system known to coordinate all of the world’s significant events to help establish a unified portrayal of global performance. The overall mission of the World Junior Golf Ranking is to improve the quality of how all junior golf events are run.

“The level of players who are playing in this tournament tell us that this event, the WJGS and its ranking system are reaching the level of importance we hope they can have,” stated Tom Burnett of the WJGS. “The quality of junior competition coming to Ponte Vedra this month will surpass any junior competition the area has ever seen. Many of these kids will be playing on professional tours in the not too-distant future.”

About the host course, Burnett states, “We are thrilled to bring the Championship back to the Ocean Course. It’s one of the few courses in the area that feels like a truly international golf course. Between the ocean breezes, the undulating greens and variations in terrain from tee to green, players have to use all the clubs in their bag. We encourage golf fans and golfers of all ages to come watch these kids play some exceptional golf on an exceptional course.”

Ponte Vedra Beach hosted the event in 2010 at TPC Sawgrass and in 2009 at the Inn & Club. This year’s event represents a bigger, stronger field and a more critical event. The World Junior Golf Series is quickly becoming recognized as a key worldwide junior tour. During the Gate American Junior, a WJGS event, boys and girls born in 1992 or later will be competing for 54 holes of championship golf on an historic course. The tour hosts three other events, including tournaments in South Africa, Germany and Poland.

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