SA juniors deliver command performance in Jakarta

South Africa’s juniors delivered an impressive performance in their opening round at the Enjoy Jakarta World Junior Golf Championship in Indonesia on Wednesday.

Thailand’s Kanyalak Preedasuttijit hit the front at the the Pantai Indah Japuk course with a first round even-par 72, but Nicole Hannah and Bianca Lohbauer finished within striking distance of the A-Group pacesetter.

The pair signed for matching two-over-par 74s to tie for second and are one shot clear of Cara Gorlei, who opened her campaign at the Damai Indah Golf Club in North Jakarta with a three over 75.

Kaleigh Telfer is also in a commanding position in the B-Group for 13-14 year old girls.

The Bryanston golfer finished just three shots adrift of the joint leaders, Paphangkorn Tavatanakit from Thailand and Japan’s Nasa Hataoka, after signing for an opening 74.

Gorlei was first to play, was happy to get off to an early start.

“We knew we were in for another hot and humid day and we had a taste of the heat in the practice round, so we knew we should take advantage of the early tee,” the 17-year-old from Milnerton said.

Gorlei double bogeyed the second, but recovered well with back-to-back birdies at the third and fourth holes to turn in one over 37. “The back nine was a little tougher, because if you miss the green here, you pay the price,” said Gorlei, who dropped two more shots on her way to a closing 38.

Lohbauer and Hannah were paired together in their international debut.

Hannah bogeyed the first two holes, but settled down with a birdie at the third. The Pretoria Country Club player also birdied the tough par-four ninth – the only player in the A-class girl to do so – to turn in 37 and completed the back nine in 37 for her 74.

Lohbauer, who had loops of 38 and 36, said that good course management was crucial.

“The greens are extremely tricky and you have to hit your approach to the right side of the green,” the 17-year-old Paarl golfer said. “If you miss it on the wrong side, you really struggle to hole the putt.”

Meanwhile Telfer started from the 10th on the shorter course for the B-Group and produced a brilliant first nine with four birdies and a lone drop to turn in 33.

A bogey at the first disrupted her momentum and she came home in 41.

The Enjoy Jakarta World Junior Golf Championship annually attracts the cream of the world’s young golfing talent and this year’s seventh edition has drawn entries from 138 juniors from 19 countries.

Gorlei is ranked third in the Womens Golf of South Africa’s junior rankings, while Lohbauer, Telfer and Hannah are respectively ranked seventh, 10th and 16th.

To view the Enjoy Jakarta World Junior Golf Championship scoring, click HERE

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