SA golfers take charge at Africa Youth Games

Eleonora Galletti helped Kyle McClatchie celebrate a memorable 17th birthday in Botswana by helping Team South Africa into the lead at the Africa Youth Games at Gaborone Golf Club on Wednesday.

The pair secured a 10 shot lead for South Africa on 292 after Galletti returned a second round 76, and Ekurhuleni’s McClatchie carded an even-par 71.

McClatchie held on to his overnight lead and tops the Boys Division standings at five-under-par 137.

The Ekurhuleni player has fellow South African Hennie du Plessis in his rear-view mirror after the Limpopo golfer surged to second on 143 with a 72.

Du Plessis is two shots clear of Stuart Krog from Zimbabwe, who returned a 74.

Nigeria’s Tokunbo Pedro followed his opening 69 with a 79 to slip to fourth on 148.

Gauteng’s Galletti moved to fourth in the Girls Division standings, and lags seven shots behind pacesetter, Caro Els.

The Namibian carded a 73 to lead at six-over-par 148, three strokes clear of first round leader, Naomi Wafula, after the Kenyan returned a 78.

Fellow South African Shawnelle de Lange followed an opening 83 with an 81 in the second round to move finish sixth on 164.

Team manager Helena Buitendag said that although Du Plessis, Galletti and De Lange were still struggling to get the measure of the tricky greens, the team was in high spirits.

“The greens are quite grainy and a bit inconsistent,” Buitendag said.

“Some are soft and some hard. Kyle and Hennie had the experience of playing on similar greens during the recent All-Africa Junior Golf Championship in Zambia, but it is taking Eleonora and Shawnelle a little longer to adjust.

“The girls and Hennie were happy to improve on their scores, though, and the team is eager to keep improving and finish off in style.”

By Wednesday evening, Team South Africa’s medal count has rocketed to 54 and with another three medal-winning days to come, the team is just five medals shy of beating Tunisia’s winning medal count from the 2010 Games in Morocco.

The Africa Youth Games drew around 2,500 athletes from 54 nations who are competing across 21 sports including athletics, badminton, basketball, boxing, canoeing, cycling, fencing, football, golf, judo, karate, netball, rowing, rugby, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, triathlon, volleyball and weightlifting.

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Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of SAGA and WGSA.

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