SA favourites to win World Junior Teams Qualifying

Brandon Stone, current SA Boys Stroke Play ChampionHost nation South Africa will start as the favourites to win the 72 hole Toyota World Junior Golf Teams Championship African Qualifying tournament which starts at Glendower Country Club in Bedfordview, Johannesburg on Monday.

In all ten countries have sent teams of four players to participate in the four day stroke play competition, playing 18 holes per day, in which the best three stroke play scores in each team count in each round. The team with the lowest 72 hole team aggregate wins the honour of representing their country and the African continent in the final.

Countries participating include Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Botswana, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Egypt, Namibia and Côte d’Ivoire.

“This is the fifteenth year that this prestigious annual event is played. South Africa has won the African continent Regional Qualifying each year, bar one, in the late 1990s when Zimbabwe took the honours,” said Ann Rycraft, president of the South African Junior Golf Foundation. “We have a very strong team again this year and are optimistic that we will qualify for the final in Japan.”

The South African team is made up Brandon Stone (Gardener Ross Estate Golf Club, Gauteng North), Luke Jerling (Port Elizabeth Golf Club, Eastern Province), Haydn Porteous (Modderfontein Golf Club, Central Gauteng) and Teaghan Gauche (Wingate Park Golf Club, Gauteng North).

Hadyn Porteous is the only member of the current South African team to have played in the final in Japan last year.

Although it is a team competition, the South African players to watch from an individual point of view include Luke Jerling and Brandon Stone.

Luke Jerling (left) with Johan Bekker after epic 26 hole struggle at Glacier SA Amateur in East LondonLast week Jerling won the SA Boys Amateur at Nelspruit. Two weeks prior the Eastern Province golfer showed great tenacity in match play when he made the older and more experienced Johan Bekker go 26 holes, during the Glacier SA Amateur Championships, before losing.

Brandon Stone fulfilled the promise he has been showing when he won the SA Boys Stroke Play, which preceded the SA Boys Amateur in Mpumalanga.

Rising star amongst the young African amateur golfers is Zimbabwean Scott Vincent, he is certainly capable of making South Africa’s best work very hard for individual honours.

“Glendower is in great shape considering all the rain that has fallen recently,” said Ann Rycraft. “The course is obviously very wet so it will be playing long.”

There will be a one tee start for Monday’s first round, the first players going off from 11h15 and the last at 12h27. The final round will be played on Thursday.

The country that wins the African Regional Qualifying will qualify to participate in the finals of the Toyota World Junior Golf Teams Championship. In all fourteen teams qualify for the final, through regional qualifying on every continent of the world, which will be played in June this year at the Ishino Course at Chukyo Golf Club outside Toyota City in Japan.

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