Juniors primed for SA U23 IPT
The field at this year’s South African U-23 Inter-Provincial Championship will be flush with youthful exuberance when the national team championship tees off at Royal Durban Golf Club from 7-11 April.
“The presence of 35 juniors in the 96-man field significantly highlights the depth and talent in the country’s junior ranks,” said South African Golf Association president, Andre Pieterse.
“The majority of the 12 teams competing in the A- and B-divisions have included juniors to develop the match playing skills of their potential premier SA Inter-Provincial stars.”
Defending champions Gauteng North have included junior golfer, Ross Sinclair, who will tee it up with recent SA Stroke Play champion Jason Smith, North West Open champion James du Preez, as well as Christoff Els, Marco Loubser, Adriel Poonan and Andrew van der Knaap.
“Our team showed incredible grit and determination to claim the title in Mpumalanga last year,” said Melette Hendrikse, operations manager at Gauteng North.
“Since we are not allowed to field the current members of our premier SA Inter-Provincial Squad, who are still under 23 years of age, the U-23 IPT provides us with an opportunity to give our younger players the chance to hone their skills.
“We are confident in our chances of defending the title, because we have a very talented squad with quite a bit of experience among them.”
Meanwhile the other provinces have also embraced the championship as an opportunity for their juniors to gain experience.
Ekurhuleni are fielding the reigning Nomads SA Boys U-19 Stroke Play and Match Play champions, Tristen Strydom and Paul Boshoff, as well as Kyle McClatchie, who contributed to the Union’s A-Section promotion at the premier SA Inter-Provincial in Rustenburg last year.
Sanlam SA Amateur semi-finalist Marco Steyn will be on the bench for Central Gauteng alongside fellow juniors Rupert Kaminski, Dean Martin, David Myers and Dylan Naidoo, while Province has included Sanlam SA Amateur finalist Altin van der Merwe, Luke Trocado, Michael Sherriff, Hayden Garcia and Luca Fillipi from their under-18 pool.
Nomads SA Boys U-19 match play finalist Hennie du Plessis will lead the action for Limpopo alongside fellow juniors Jaco Linde, Cameron Newsmith, Corne Olivier and Franco van Zyl.
In the B-Section, Jovan Rebula lines up for Southern Cape with juniors Caylum Boon, Franklin Manchest and Cameron Moralee, while juniors Lee Morison and Andre van Heerden will step up for Mpumalanga.
Boland has included Dylan Jacobs, Hennie O’Kennedy and Herman Loubser, who won the Nomads SA Boys Under-15 Championship earlier this year, Ruben Coetzer, Gregory McKay and Keagan Thomas have been included in the KwaZulu-Natal team and Donavan Tam and Alwyn Griebenow will turn out for Eastern Province.
“Amateur golf goes through a cycle every year where we lose players to the pro ranks. It is therefore very exciting to see so many juniors included for this year’s championship, because their presence bears witness to the strength of our junior programme and the future of amateur golf.”
The SA U-23 Inter-Provincial will be played to the same format as the premier SA Inter-Provincial with five rounds of morning foursomes and afternoon singles.
The B-Section winner will earn promotion to the A-Section in 2015, while the team finishing last in the A-Section log, will be demoted to the B-Section.