SA in driver’s seat at All-Africa Junior
The South African juniors shifted gears in the third round of the All-Africa Junior Golf Championship in Lusaka and opened up a 21 shot lead on Zimbabwe on Wednesday.
The defending champions combined for a two-under-par 214 at the Chainama Hills Golf Club and top the standings at nine-over-par 657.
Hennie du Plessis and Kyle McClatchie showed no ill-effects from the stomach bug that sapped their energy in the second round and cruised home with a pair of 71s.
Altin van der Merwe cancelled six bogeys with half a dozen birdies for a 72, while Jovan Rebula posted a non-counting 73.
Stuart Krog once again produced the goods for Zimbabwe and came home in 70 strokes to post the low round of the day.
Jack Allard added a 76 and Kieron Vincent a 78 for a third round 224 that kept the country in second place on 678.
Peter Munyinya signed for an even-par 72 and a pair of 77s from left-hander Kelvin Chibuye and Charles Shalubobya helped Zambia to a combined total of 226 and kept the country in third on 686, just 12 shots behind Zimbabwe.
Reunion protected their fourth spot in the standings with a 232 and lurk 10 shots behind the host nation on 696.
Julian Sale matched Van der Merwe and Munyinya’s 72, while Robin Mas contributed a 78 and Alexandre Rajerinera added an 82 to the team’s tally.
Uganda sits in fifth on 703 after carding a 236, Kenya is 12 shots back on 715 after combining for a 239 and Tunisia holds the seventh spot on 718 after posting a 240.
Du Plessis opened with a 71, but slumped to a second round 82 after being laid low by the stomach bug. The country’s number one junior was thrilled to be back in fighting form.
“Although the guys all said I shouldn’t worry, I felt terrible to let the team down,” Du Plessis said. “It was really important to me that I contribute, but it was quite a frustrating day.
“I picked up two birdies on the front nine and dropped just one shot on the front nine, but the back nine was a real box of crayons. I bogeyed the 10th and 11th, but cancelled them with birdies at the 13th and 15th and I was feeling good after another birdie at the 16th.
“Then I hit the front edge at the 17th and had a three-putt for bogey. Not my finest moment, but at least I finished with a four to finish the round under par.”
McClatchie was equally frustrated, but for rather different reasons.
“I’m going to have to pay a hefty fine tonight,” said the Ekurhuleni star who submitted the only bogey-free card on the day. “We are fined if we go nine holes without a birdie and I picked up my first birdie at the 16th.
“Thank goodness that the putt dropped, or I would have had to pay a double fine. The greens are running a lot smoother, so I really hope I hole a couple early on tomorrow.
Team manager Kevin Stone said the side was ready to close out the country’s title defence.
“They are definitely ready to rumble and win this championship for the 16th time,” he said. “They have set themselves a target of finishing under par and they are pretty determined to deliver.”
Stone believes the final round will be a closely-fought contest for second.
“Ever since African Golf Federation president, Joe Malangi, announced the news that the runners-up this year will also compete at the TOYOTA Junior Golf World Cup in Japan, the countries have stepped it up,” Stone said.
“It is a great prize and a huge incentive, and we are going to see some fierce competing in the final round, because the second to fourth teams all have a chance.”
THIRD ROUND TEAM STANDINGS (best three scores to count)
657 South Africa 220 – 223 – 214
678 Zimbabwe 232 – 222 – 224
686 Zambia 222 – 238 – 226
696 Reunion 231 – 233 – 232
703 Uganda 231 – 236 – 236
715 Kenya 238 – 238 – 239
718 Tunisia 233 – 245 – 240
736 Namibia 255 – 237 – 244
747 Botswana 246 – 261 – 240
727 Swaziland 246 – 240 – 241
779 Mauritius 271 – 254 – 254
857 Malawi 280 – 288 – 289
THIRD ROUND INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD (top 10 gross)
70 Stuart Krog (Zimbabwe
71 Kyle McClatchie; Hennie du Plessis (South Africa)
72 Peter Munyinya (Zambia); Julian Sale (Reunion); Altin van der Merwe (South Africa)
73 Jovan Rebula (South Africa)
76 Jack Allard (Zimbabwe); Ronald Otile (Uganda)
77 Daniel Ndova (Kenya); Kelvin Chibuye (Zambia); Stefanus Bonifatius (Namibia); Charles Shalubobya (Zambia)
CUMULATIVE INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD (top 10 gross)
219 Stuart Krog (Zimbabwe) 78 71 70
220 Kyle McClatchie (South Africa) 75 74 71
221 Jovan Rebula (South Africa) 74 74 73
224 Hennie du Plessis (South Africa) 71 82 71
224 Kieron Vincent (Zimbabwe) 75 71 78
225 Julian Sale (Reunion) 78 75 72
225 Altin van der Merwe (South Africa) 78 75 72
225 Peter Munyinya (Zambia) 74 79 72
228 Robin Mas (Reunion) 73 77 78
229 Daniel Ndova (Kenya) 76 76 77
229 Kelvin Chibuye (Zambia) 70 82 77