9 September 2022 – Gauteng North’s Keagan Crosbie shot to the top of the GolfRSA Junior U-19 Rankings in September when he claimed his second Nomads title in a row in the Nomads North and South Championship at Pecanwood Golf & Country Club.
The Centurion Country Club junior started the final round a stroke off the lead of Milnerton’s Jack Buchanan but a double bogey at the par-four second saw him drop away from the chasing pack.
Then Crosbie rolled off a trio of birdies from the fifth hole to regain momentum and he put himself back in the hunt with a brace of birdies at the 11th and 12th holes.
The key hole was the 12th as Buchanan’s untimely double bogey saw the Nomads Inland Order of Merit champion take the lead with six holes to play. Crosbie would not surrender that lead, making two superb up-and-downs on the 18th and 18th holes to be crowned the champion once again.
“It was tough out there but having got the first win under the belt at Modderfontein, I knew I could do it,” said Crosbie. “I just had to stay calm and play my game plan.”
We caught up with Grade 12 Mckinlay Reid International School learner following his victory in the North West and chatted golf, goals, the importance of a strong mental game and his secret passion to be a pilot.
– 3 GolfRSA National Junior Wins – Friends of Engelberg 2021, Inland NOOM 2 2022 & North & South 2022
– Winning Centurion Country Club Junior Club champs in 2021.
Q – What was your best golfing moments besides your national wins?
KC – In the 2022 SA Stroke Play at Randpark, I finished tied 18th. I played four rounds of golf on a challenging course which were par or better. In the second I shot five-under and finished bogey-free, and I’d consider this the best I have played in a top-level tournament. Also playing in the US Kids European Championship in Scotland in proper Scottish weather was an awesome experience.
Q – Tell us where and when your love affair with golf started.
KC – My parents tell me that when I was very young, probably one or two years old, they took me to a photoshoot and the first prop I grabbed was a golf club. I stood there while the photographer was taking pictures of me and from that moment, all I wanted to do was play putt-putt and would cry if I wasn’t allowed to. At the age of about five, my aunt’s husband (John Raath) took me to play at a mashie course in Centurion and I was addicted from then onwards. I used to beg him to go on a Sunday afternoon and I loved every minute of it.
Q – Are you the sort of golfer who sets yearly goals? If so, what goals did you set for yourself to achieve in 2022 and what are you targeting next season?
KC – Yes, I do set yearly goals and my goal for 2022 was to reach the top three on the GolfRSA Junior U-19 rankings, which I have achieved. I also wanted to be chosen for the Gauteng North Golf Union Premier IPT and U-19 IPT teams. Unfortunately, I didn’t make the Premier IPT team, but am hopeful that I will be selected for the U-19 team for December 2022.
My goals for 2023 are, first and foremost, to be chosen to represent one of the SA teams travelling abroad. I also want to improve my GolfRSA Open Amateur ranking. The first goal is top 20, then top 10.
Q – You began really playing well on the GolfRSA national junior circuit last year and you’ve excelled in 2022 to go to the No 1 spot. What are the reasons behind the breakthrough?
KC – Hard work. I spend at least three hours a day on the putting green and another hour or two on the chipping green. By improving my short-game, I have managed to make lots of birdies, and I am able to scramble well when the swing isn’t going so great.
My approach to tournaments has also changed and I spend a lot of time preparing for tournaments, like doing course management. I also make sure I eat correctly before and during a tournament and get enough sleep. This helps me maintain my mental strength until the final hole. This helped me win the Nomads Inland NOOM tournament at Modderfontein this year. I managed to stay focused on the tough final four holes while everyone around me was dropping shots.
Q – Talk to us about the strengths of your game and what are the weaknesses or aspects of the game you still need to attend to.
KC – My biggest strength at the moment is my mental game which has been developed by my coach, Kyle Phelan, and sports psychologist Theo Bezuidenhout.
Q – Tell us about your coach and how important you believe having a coach and a support team is to your success.
KC – I have been with coach Kyle at Phelan Golf Academy since I was nine years old (2013). Kyle has always been there for me and has not only coached my golf swing and putting, but he has coached me mentally and helped me grow all aspects of my game.
He spends hours of his time going through statistics and showing me that the end result of a shot may well be within the PGA Tour statistics, and that I should be happy with the result. This helps immensely with the mental side of the game. He also assists and trains me in doing course management, which once again helps you to walk up to the tee-box with the correct club in the hand and knowing where you are going to hit the ball. This also excellent for the mental side of the game.
Theo has also spent hours in developing my mental strength and helping me to remain calm even after a terrible shot. I have learned that this is the key to success.
This was evident once again during my win at the Nomads Inland National Order of Merit at Modderfontein. I was +2 after seven holes in the second round of the tournament and five shots off the lead, but I managed to maintain my cool and went 4 under during the rest of the holes and went on to win.
Q – Which tournaments, local or international, would you most like to win and why?
KC – I think the obvious tournament that I would like to win one day would be The Masters or The Open. Those two are definitely top of my bucket list. Here at home, I would like to win one of the South African Amateur Majors like the SA Amateur, SA Stroke Play or African Amateur.
Q – What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
KC – Attack when you need to attack and defend when you need to defend. This advice was given to me by coach Kyle.
Q – What advice would you give youngsters just starting in the game?
KC – You are going to hit bad shots but remember that the next shot is the one that counts. Never give up on your passion and stay determined.
Q – What’s your favourite club in your bag and why?
KC – My lob-wedge, the one club in my bag that I can get very creative with and create some amazing shots.
Q – Which are your favourite golf courses and which golf courses would you still love to play?
KC – Favourite courses that I have played are St Francis Links, Gowrie Farm, Gary Player CC (Sun City) & Zimbali. The ones I would still like to play are TPC Sawgrass, Dubai Golf Club, Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club & Leopard Creek Golf Club.
Q – Any aces?
KC – I have only ever achieved one hole-in-one and it happened at Middelburg Golf Club during an Inter-Provincial Quadrangular. It was pretty special because there were numerous representatives from various unions who witnessed it. I almost forgot – I had another hole-in-one at the Thatchfield Par 3 Nine-hole course while practising with my dad, but this wasn’t official.
Q – If you had to pick up one animal to describe you, what would it be and why?
KC – Eagle. I love flying high and striving for greatness.
Q – Describe the best meal you’ve had while on the road and where you had it.
KC – I was in Scotland (North Berwick) playing the US Kids European Championship and ordered a Venison Burger, which was amazing. Once I had finished eating the burger, my dad explained to me what I had just eaten, and I will admit that if I had known beforehand what it was, I would definitely not have ordered it.
Q – What is your favourite season and why?
KC – Summer. I get a nice golfers tan and can wear as few clothes as possible. In summer, when the trees are covered in leaves, my golf balls stay away from them but somehow, during winter when there are only a few twigs, my golf balls have the tendency to find the smallest of twigs.
Q – Is there anything you are addicted to or can’t live without?
KC – My dad’s alfredo pasta and, of course, golf.
Q – Tell us about something you hate doing and why?
KC – I hate eating cheese. It stinks.
Q – Describe yourself in one word.
KC – Ambitious.
Q – I’m not embarrassed to say that ……
KC – I am very short.
Q – What movie can you watch again and again and why?
KC – Top Gun (Old & New). This is movie helped develop my love for flying.
Q – Tell us about three things you consider yourself to be really good at.
KC – Supporting other people, hitting creative golf shots and identifying aeroplanes in the sky.
Q – If they made a movie about your life, which actor would you pick to play you and why?
KC – Chris Hemsworth – he is one of my favourite actors and plays his rolls very well.
Q – What three things would you want to have on a deserted island and why?
KC – Girlfriend/Family, golf clubs & chicken strips. These are some of my favourite things in life.
Q – What are your biggest fears?
KC – Strangely enough I have a fear of heights even though I want to be a pilot, but my biggest fear is spiders.
Q – If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be and why?
KC – Tom Cruise. I would be able to fly in one of my favourite aeroplanes, which is the P-51D Mustang. Tom Cruise owns his own Mustang.
Q – As a kid growing up, what did you want to be?
KC – A pilot
Q – And if golf turns out not to be a career option, what profession would you pursue and why?
KC – A commercial airline pilot.
Q – If you could meet and have lunch with anyone in the world (real, fictitious, from any time period, dead or alive), who would you choose?
KC – Gary Player.
Q – Any superstitions, on or off the course?
KC – When I wear my white and blue speckled Footjoy golf shirt, I always play under par.
Q – What is your guilty pleasure?
KC – Gummy sweets
Q – Who would you like to play with in your own Fantasy Fourball?
KC – Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods & Victor Hovland
Q – Words to live by….
KC – Never say die
Q – If we gave you a free plane ticket anywhere, where would you go and why?
KC – The Maldives – I need a good relaxing holiday after a tough year of golf and school.
Q – What is your favourite quote from a movie or a person?
KC – “I got addicted to the process of getting better” by Jason Day.
STILL ON THE BUCKET LIST
Flying an aeroplane solo
Driving a Lamborghini
Get an albatross