SA duo through to Junior Open final
South African juniors Luca Filippi from Milnerton and Bryanston’s Kaleigh Telfer both made the final round of the Junior Open Championship at the West Lancashire Golf Club in England on Tuesday.
Telfer battled to a second round 90 to finish two shots inside the cut to 80 and ties.
The country’s number three ranked junior dropped 18 shots around the championship layout, including a quadruple bogey at the first and a triple bogey at the 10th, but the Bryanston golfer countered with seven pars to finish two shots inside the cut, set at 29-over-par 173.
Meanwhile Filippi carded a six-over-par 78 to finish six strokes behind joint leaders, Teodoro Soldati from Italy and Belgium’s Diane Baillieux.
Soldati fired a 70 and Baillieux returned a 71 to set the target at two over 146.
The pair finished one stroke clear of Sweden’s Hugo Townsend (77), Ireland’s Kevin Leblanc (75) and Felipe Strobach from Peru, whose 69 was the low round of the day at the prestigious biennial championship, presented by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (R&A).
Filippi began the second round four shots behind overnight leader Townsend after an opening 74.
The 15-year-old Western Province golfer managed to offset four bogeys with birdies at the second, fifth and 17th holes, but an expensive eight at the par-three sixth dropped him to eight over.
He tied on eight-over-par 152 with teenage golf star, Anita Uwadia from Nigeria, who has been honing her game at the Junior Players Golf Academy in the United States for the last few years.
Seven of the 21 juniors from Africa who lined up in the event made the cut, including Filippi (74-78), Telfer (81-90), Nigeria’s Uwadia (78-74) and Elliot Obatoyinbo (88-84), Kasoma Paulino from Namibia (84-75), Zimbabwe’s Justin Kersten (80-83) and Maged Hamad from Egypt (93-80)
The biennial Junior Open was first played in 1994 and has been under the R&A’s administrative umbrella since 2000. All national golf organisations affiliated to The R&A are invited to send one boy and/or girl under the age of 16 to compete in the 54-hole stroke play event.
This year’s championship drew a field of 126 players from 75 countries, including 21 players from Africa.
The experience for juniors includes not only the golf tournament, but an opportunity for competitors to meet their counterparts from many different golfing nations.
Traditionally the Junior Open is played in the same week in July as the Open Championship and at a nearby course. All competitors are invited to attend The Open after the conclusion of their own event.
Previous champions of the Junior Open Championship include Sergio Garcia, who won the first event in 1994, Francesco Molinari, Nicolas Colsaerts, Camilo Villegas, Paula Creamer and Jordan Spieth.
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.