Minnie marches to Africa Junior Open victory

Sentanio Minnie held off a spirited challenge from Gauteng North’s Dylan Mostert to claim his first national title with an eight stroke victory in the Africa Junior Open on Sunday.

The 17-year-old Ekurhuleni junior shared the first round lead with Allan Lones after both players opened with 73s at the Fish River Sun Country Club, but he pulled two strokes clear of Lones with a second round 74.

“I thought it would be a two-horse race between Allan and me, but Dylan Mostert ended up providing the fireworks,” said Minnie, who kept control and closed with a 73 to win on four-over-par 220.

Minnie bogeyed two and three, but settled with pars and birdied the eighth to turn one over.

The Glendower golfer notched another six pars to keep in front, but Mostert chipped away at a five stroke deficit and reduced the gap to one stroke when he chipped in for birdie at the par-three 16th.

“I three-putted for a bogey at 16 and it was down to the last two holes,” Minnie said.

“For just a moment I thought about how I threw away the lead in the Nomads North vs South in April going down the last couple of holes.

“Then I put my head down over the last two holes. My game plan all day was to keep it the ball in play tee to green and to take opportunities where I could.

“I knew I just needed to stay patient for two more holes and not allow the pressure to get to me.”

However, Mostert mailed his tee shot at 17 into the bush and he had to reload. His challenge disintegrated with a nine at the par four and a double bogey at 18.

Minnie, meanwhile, made a solid par at 17 and finished with flourish at the final hole.

“The pressure was off playing 18,” the TuksSport Golf Academy player said.

“I hit a great tee shot and a good approach to five feet at 18 and I boxed the birdie putt for the win. It felt really great to get that first big win after knocking so many times.

“This has given me a lot of confidence. After our matric prelims, I hope to carry this confidence into the Premier SA Inter-Provincial for my provincial team at my home club next month.

“Then I’m going to gun for back-to-back wins in the Joburg Junior Open in December.”

Lones closed with a 79 to finish second on 228, while Mostert signed off with a 77 to tie for third on 229 with Jacques Smit, who returned a 74.

220 Sentanio Minnie 73 74 73
228 Alan Lones 73 76 79
229 Dylan Mostert 78 74 77; Jacques Smith 74 81 74
231 Garrick Higgo 81 75 75; Franklin Manchest 79 81 71; Bryce Leach 77 80 74; Luca Filippi 76 76 79
232 Kyle De Beer 79 79 74; Deon Germishuys 77 78 77

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.

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