Filippi leads Africa at Junior Open

South Africa’s Luca Filippi claimed a top 12 finish at the Junior Open Championship to top the African leaderboard at the prestigious biennial championship, presented by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (R&A).

The 15-year-old Milnerton golfer carded rounds of 74, 78 and 78 at the West Lancashire Golf Club to tie for 12th with four players on 14-over-par 230.

Unfortunately, fellow South African junior Kaleigh Telfer continued to struggle with the putter at the traditional links layout and the intermittent drizzle only added to her woes.

The Bryanston golfer carded a final round 87 to claim a share of 80th spot on the final leaderboard with Argentina’s Priscilla Schmid.

Meanwhile Kevin LeBlanc from Ireland fired a final round 74 to claim a podium finish on five over 221.

LeBlanc secured the Nordic and Central European Trophy, while joint runner-up Teodoro Soldati from Italy took the Southern European Trophy.

Filippi opened with a bogey, but erased a second drop at the fifth with a birdie at the par-three sixth. He turned in two over after a third bogey at the ninth. His run of pars on the back nine was rudely interrupted by an eight at the par-four 13th.

Without the expensive mistake, the Western Province golfer would have tied for sixth.

Filippi was the top African performer among the seven players of the 21-strong African contingent who made the cut.

The South African finished five shots ahead of Anita Uwadia in the final round. Regrettably, the zone trophies were based on net scores after 36 holes and the Nigerian golfer pipped Filippi for the African Trophy.

With the championship done and dusted, the two juniors will have the chance to indulge themselves at The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool on Thursday and Friday.

“We are thankful to the R&A for arranging the two-day visit to The Open Championship,” said Womens Golf South Africa president, Karen Olivant, accompanied the juniors to England.

“It affords our juniors a unique opportunity to see their South African idols and other top professionals in action at a Major championship and Luca and Kaleigh are both really excited. They have already nominated the players they would like to follow, including Tiger Woods.

“The Junior Open Championship has been a fantastic experience for both players. Not only did they both learn a lot from competing on such a tough layout and against top international juniors, but the championship allowed them the opportunity to forge friendships with players from around the globe.”

African Nations – 54-hole Results
230 Luca Filippi RSA 74 78 78
235 Anita Uwadia NIG 78 74 83
243 Kasoma Paulino NAM 84 75 84
250 Elliot Obatoyinbo NIG 88 84 78
251 Justin Kersten ZIM 80 83 88
252 Maged Hamad EGP 93 80 79
258 Kaleigh Telfer 81 90 87

The biennial Junior Open was first played in 1994 and has been under the R&A’s administrative umbrella since 2000. All national golf organisations affiliated to The R&A are invited to send one boy and/or girl under the age of 16 to compete in the 54-hole stroke play event.
This year’s championship drew a field of 126 players from 75 countries, including 21 players from Africa.
The experience for juniors includes not only the golf tournament, but an opportunity for competitors to meet their counterparts from many different golfing nations.
Traditionally the Junior Open is played in the same week in July as the Open Championship and at a nearby course. All competitors are invited to attend The Open after the conclusion of their own event.
Previous champions of the Junior Open Championship include Sergio Garcia, who won the first event in 1994, Francesco Molinari, Nicolas Colsaerts, Camilo Villegas, Paula Creamer and Jordan Spieth.

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

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