Ekurhuleni pair primed for Junior Orange Bowl

Top ranked juniors Tristen Strydom and Paul Boshoff will both chase down glory in the Orange Bowl Junior Invitational in the United States from 27-30 December.

Strydom, who ranks second on the South African Golf Association’s Open Amateur rankings, earned his berth in the line-up of the highly exclusive 72-hole stroke play championship by way of winning the Glacier Junior Series National Final.

Boshoff was invited to compete in the in the 51st edition of the prestigious international event at the Biltmore Golf Course in Coral Gables, Florida, as the country’s number one ranked junior.

“When you look at the list of past winners, names like Bubba Watson, Tiger Woods, Ryuji Amada, Camillo Villegas, Kevin Na and Pablo Martin jump off the page,” said South African Golf Association president, Gerhard Conradie.

“Tristen and Paul will face a tough challenge, because this championship attracts the cream of the crop in junior golf worldwide. However, Lewis Chitengwa from Zimbabwe became the first African champion of this prestigious tournament in 1992 and Tristen and Paul are definitely up to the task.

“Results aside, they will have the opportunity to compete against players of the highest calibre and the experience they will gain at this level will prove invaluable to both their future careers.

“We wish them the best of luck and hope they enjoy a fortuitous festive season in the United States.”

Strydom and Boshoff touched down in the United States on Saturday, barely hours after helping Ekurhuleni whip Southern Cape 9.5 – 2.5 in the final round of the South African Under-19 Inter-Provincial at Krugersdorp Golf Club.

Ekurhuleni finished second in the standings, one point behind champions Western Province.

The Ekurhuleni pair has enjoyed a standout season on home soil and abroad, and not surprisingly, shared first place in the IPT’s Most Valuable Players standings with eight points each, having both won four out of five Foursomes and four Single games.

In April, Strydom won the Nomads SA Boys Under-19 Stroke Play title and vaulted to second in the Open Amateur rankings with podium finishes in the KZN Amateur Match Play, the Harry Oppenheimer Trophy and the International Team’s Championship.

Boshoff, who ranks 10th on the Open Amateur Circuit, won the Nomads SA Boys Under-19 Match Play and the Nomads Coastal Order of Merit event at St Francis Links.

The pair travelled to Europe in June where they gained great experience competing in top amateur championships in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

On a return trip to Germany, Boshoff took a seventh place in the prestigious RB German Junior on the World Junior Series, while Strydom cracked the top 20 at Golfclub Heddesheim in Gut Neuzenhof.

As the national SA U-19 champions, the pair also teed it up in the invitation-only Duke of York Young Champions Trophy at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club in Scotland in September, where Boshoff tied for fifth and Strydom finished joint eighth.

Strydom also claimed a three stroke victory in the IGT Tour’s Race to Q-School at Benoni Country Club in November for his maiden breakthrough on the country’s premier development Tour.

Buoyed by their performances this season, the two players hope to end the season on a high note when they line up against the top amateurs from around the globe in the invitation-only Orange Bowl Junior Invitational.

“It’s going to be strange to celebrate Christmas away from home, but this is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and Paul and I will give it everything we’ve got,” said 17-year-old Strydom.

“We especially flew across to the United States early to adjust to the conditions here in Florida.

“Hopefully we can fit in a few practice rounds, so we are totally comfortable on the course by the time the tournament rolls around.”

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.

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