Juniors primed for All-Africa Junior defence
South Africa’s leading four juniors will have the auspicious task of keeping the country’s undefeated record alive at the All-Africa Junior Golf Championship in Zambia next month.
The SA U-19 Junior Team to take up South Africa’s title defence include Kyle McClatchie, who holds the number one spot in the South African Golf Association’s junior rankings, as well as Jovan Rebula, Hennie du Plessis and Altin van der Merwe, respectively ranked second to fourth.
South African Golf Association president, Andre Pieterse, believes the team is definitely up for the challenge at Chainama Hills Golf Club in Lusaka from 28 April to 1 May.
“The team is well prepared to charge down South Africa’s 16th consecutive title in this championship,” Pieterse said.
“Individually, they have all performed well this season. Kyle, Jovan and Hennie served on the victorious SA junior team that handed a French junior side a comprehensive drubbing in a two-day Test in early February.
“Altin joined the trio and four other leading juniors in the SA Junior team that defeated a junior side Scottish Golf Union and a team of elite squad players from the South African Golf Development Board at Randpark in the annual Triangular at Randpark, also in February.
“They are a feisty bunch and certainly keen to emulate last year’s champions, who claimed a 58 shot victory over Zimbabwe at Le Touessrok in Mauritius with a winning total of 20-over-par 884. We believe they are definitely up for the task at hand.”
While their team records speak for themselves, McClatchie from Ekurhuleni also defeated Du Plessis in a play-off for the Dr Bam Nomads National Order of Merit title in January.
Reigning Nomads SA U-17 Boys champion Rebula won the Nomads National Order of Merit event at Royal Durban in January and the Southern Cape golfer recently claimed the Proudfoot Trophy as the winner of the stroke play qualifier at the Sanlam SA Amateur Championship.
Limpopo’s Du Plessis, who claimed a runaway victory in the Kenya Open Amateur last year, notched a number of top five finishes in 2013 and was a major contributor to South Africa’s victories against the French and at the Triangular.
Van der Merwe, a finalist at the Sanlam SA Amateur Championship a fortnight ago, claimed a runner-up spot at the 5th Albatross International Junior Golf Championship in India in December and reeled in back-to-back victories in the Mowbray and Durbanville Opens on the Western Province amateur circuit last year.
Other countries expected to compete in the 19th edition of the prestigious junior team championship include the host nation, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Swaziland, Uganda, Namibia and Mauritius.
SA JUNIOR TEAM
Kyle McClatchie (16 / Ekurhuleni)
Jovan Rebula (16 / Southern Cape)
Hennie du Plessis (17 / Limpopo)
Altin van der Merwe (17 / Western Province)
PHOTO – Kyle McClatchie; credit Dale Boyce