Juniors primed for All-Africa Junior defence

The young quartet tasked with keeping South Africa’s winning record alive at the All-Africa Junior Golf Championship at Chainama Hills Golf Club in Lusaka departed in high spirits for Zambia on Saturday.

The 19th edition of the prestigious junior team championship tees off on Monday and will showcase the talent of Southern Africa’s finest junior golfers from countries such as Zambia, South Africa, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Swaziland, Uganda, Namibia and Mauritius.

The country’s under-19 side includes Hennie du Plessis from Limpopo, Southern Cape’s Jovan Rebula, Altin van der Merwe from the Western Province and Ekurhuleni’s Kyle McClatchie.

“The team is determined to emulate the side that claimed a 58 shot victory over Zimbabwe at Le Touessrok in Mauritius last year,” said team manager, Kevin Stone.

“One thing is for certain; the boys have done the work and they are ready for the challenge ahead. All four players have proven their individual prowess and team playing abilities this season.

“Hennie, Kyle and Jovan have all held the number one spot in the South African Golf Association’s Junior Rankings at one point or other this season, while Altin has vaulted into the top five with some superb performances. I definitely believe they are up to the task ahead.”

Stone and his family has a long history with junior golf in South Africa and the professional was pleased to be asked to guide the team to the country’s 16th consecutive victory.

“Our family has been involved with junior golf in this country for more than 40 years,” Stone said.

“My mom, Jenny, used to be involved with the North West Junior Foundation and my dad, Sam, was the president of the Junior Golf Foundation for five years.

“I joined the Junior Golf Foundation in 1973 and my sons, Brandon and Jarryd, were both members of the Junior Golf Foundation. Des, my wife, was also involved with Gauteng North Junior Foundation for many years.

“My dad went with Ernie Els to the World Junior in San Diego in 1985 and now, 30 years later, I am going to Zambia with Ernie’s nephew, Jovan. It’s a real privilege and honour for me to accompany this team.

“They are a really talented and feisty bunch, very determined to emulate their predecessors and to keep the country’s winning record alive.”

The format of the 72-hole championship is stroke play, with the best three scores per country to count towards their total in each round.

PHOTO – All-Africa Junior Golf Championship team (Front – Jovan Rebula, Kyle McClatchie, Hennie du Plessis, Altin van der Merwe, Back – team manager Kevin Stone (left) and SAGA second vice president, Geoff Taylor.)

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