16 April 2023 – After a winning start to the 2023 local season, talented North West junior Bryan Newman tested the waters in the prestigious Scottish Boys’ Open Championship this April and came incredibly close to a breaking through on the international stage.
Teeing off in the 144-strong field featuring top juniors from 13 countries at Lundin Golf Club, the 15-year-old Pecanwood golfer was seven strokes off the pace after an opening two-over-par 74.
Subsequent rounds of 69 and 68 rocketed Newman up the leaderboard and he fired a superb 66 that featured seven birdies in the final round to close out a runner-up finish on seven-under 277, finishing just one shot behind Irish winner Seán Keeling.
South Africa’s No 2-ranked Under-17 golfer called the experience incredible after being presented with Scottish Boys Under-16 Trophy: “I truly enjoyed my time here in Scotland, learning to play true links golf,” he said.
“It was not the easiest of conditions; we had rain and wind and I learned how to hit shots, and to manage my game really well. I was proud to show South Africa in a good light against the European golfers and being in contention was awesome.”
In January, Newman reeled in his fourth GolfRSA National title with a wire-to-wire victory in the Nomads National Order of Merit Coastal at Selborne, continuing a trend that started with breakout six-stroke victory in the 2021 Joburg Under-15 Junior Open at Eagle Canyon.
He also led from start to finish in his seven-stroke triumph in the 2022 Nomads Gowrie Farm SA Under-15 Challenge and defended his Joburg Under-15 Junior Open at the end of last year in wire-to-wire style, this time with a runaway nine-stroke victory at Kyalami Country Club.
We caught up with Bryan following his impressive performance in Scotland and chatted to the grade 10 Steyn City School learner about goals, idols and a few of his favourite things,.
1st – 2023 Scottish Boys’ Open Championship U-16
2nd – 2023 Scottish Boys’ Open Championship
1st – 2023 Nomads National Order of Merit Coastal 1 at Selborne Golf Club (just after turning 15)
1st – 2022 Joburg Junior U-15 Open (won by 9 shots at Kyalami Country Club)
1st – 2022 Nomads Gowrie Farm U-15 Challenge (won by 7 shots at Gowrie Farm Golf Estate)
1st – 2021 Joburg Junior U-15 Open (won by 6 strokes at Eagle Canyon)
Achieved 100% in November 2022 mathematics exam
Played First Team tennis at school
Competed in the 2016 US Kids tournament at Pinehurst, and the 2015 SA Kids Golf tournaments at Mount Edgecombe
GolfRSA: Bryan, congratulations on a phenomenal season so far. Have you had any time to reflect on your achievements?
BN: I couldn’t be happier with my performance. It is still early in the season, and I feel there is still lots of hard work needed to keep the momentum going through the year.
GolfRSA: Since your 2021 breakthrough on the GolfRSA National Junior circuit, you have definitely achieved a greater level of consistency. What has been the key to this?
BN: I’ve spent quite a bit of time on the range, and I feel it has really translated into my iron accuracy. I’ve been hitting a lot of greens, which is key to consistent scores.
GolfRSA: Are you a goal setter, and if so, what are your goals for this season?
BN: Yes. One of my main goals for 2023 is to be selected for the team travelling to Italy for the Reply Italian U-16 tournament. Since South Africa has had some really good results there, it would be awesome to travel to Italy to gain experience, and to try and keep up our good reputation.
GolfRSA: Take us back to where it all started.
BN: My dad Andrew first taught me golf, and I enjoyed putting the most when I was small. From the age of seven, I started competing in SA Kids Golf tournaments. I played SA Kids Golf right up to when I turned 15. The program is a great foundation for junior golfers, and it has really benefited me with all the tournament experience.
GolfRSA: These days, golfers need to have a solid team around them. Who do you work with?
BN: Firstly, I am grateful to my parents for the time they take to help me to perform to the best of my ability in tournaments. I have worked with John Dickson at Country Club Johannesburg since I was six years old, and I also work with Nicole Becker from Wanna Be a Champion at Serengeti. Both coaches have significantly contributed to my improvement as a golfer.
Another important member of my team is Andrew McLardy, who is able to give me lots of on-course advice based on his considerable experience as a professional. And on the fitness side, I work with Gavin Groves, who is an expert in fitness and injury prevention.
I am also really grateful to Steyn City School for the support I receive that enables me to achieve a balance between my academic and golf pursuits.
GolfRSA: In terms of the state of your game right now, what are the strengths and is there anything specific you want to work on to improve?
BN: My iron play is really solid, which translates into a lot of greens in regulation, but I need to work more on my putting. Without good putting, hitting lots of greens does not have such a big effect as it should.
GolfRSA: You have played a number of great courses through GolfRSA in the last two years. Which have been your favourites and why?
BN: Blair Atholl and St Francis Links, two true Championship courses that play very differently to each other.
GolfRSA: What is the best advice you’ve received?
BN: Always be true to yourself.
GolfRSA: What is your go-to club and why?
BN: My sand wedge is lethal from about 90 meters.
My favourite food is the Sliced Beef and Rice Sukiyaki bowl from Yoshinowa.
The motto I live by is: “A narrow focus brings big results.”
Two of my favourite actors are Tom Cruise and Leonardo DiCapro.
Things I love are to sleep and to practice golf.
My top tournaments to watch are The Masters and the AIG Women’s Open.
The weirdest thing I have ever eaten was crab and it wasn’t great!
The three top things on my bucket list are to travel to France, to play Augusta and to ski in Austria.
If I got stuck on an island, the three things I would wish for is golf clubs, golf balls and a good friend.