SA Juniors conquer French at Serengeti

South Africa’s top four ranked juniors rallied to an emphatic five point victory against the French in the final round of a two-day Test at the Serengeti Golf & Wildlife Estate on Saturday.

The South Africans dominated the first round 4.5 – 1.5, but the local heroes came under a little pressure when the visitors claimed one of the foursomes matches and halved the other early in the final round.

However, the French closing the gap only seemed to fire up the South Africans.

The country’s number one Kyle McClatchie employed his local course knowledge to lead a spirited comeback, handing Chantilly’s Victor Veyret a 7 & 5 drubbing that put the Proteas back in control, while Southern Cape’s Jovan Rebula defeated Thomas Le Berre from Chantilly 4 & 3 and Limpopo’s Hennie du Plessis survived a hard-fought scuffle against Alexandre Daydou from Cannes Mougins to triumph 1-up.

“The team spirit of this side was pretty obvious when Kyle, Jovan and Hennie, having already secured the victory, all went to support Thriston (Lawrence), who was entangled in a tough battle against Paul Elissalde,” said team manager, Eden Thompson.

The battle between the reigning Sanlam SA Amateur champion and the top ranked French junior from Bairritz le Phare lasted the distance, with the match ending in a draw and Lawrence securing half a point to give the South Africans an 8.5 – 3.5 victory.

“It was a great battle against Paul,” the Mpumalanga teenager said. “None of us wanted to sacrifice a single point and I am thrilled that I was able to get a half point for the team.”

Thompson said the spirit in the camp was truly inspirational.

“The South African Stroke Play Championship starts in a few days, so one would have thought the players would be focussed on that and put the team second,” he said. “But this team was so inspired and they really played for each other.

“When the French whittled away at their lead in the foursomes, it only served to fuel their competitive juices and they once again delivered. They really did the nation proud.”

The French will have another chance to challenge the juniors when all eight players line up in the SA Stroke Play at Benoni Country Club from 4-7 February 2014.

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