SA Juniors in touch at Junior Golf World Cup
South Africa’s four-man junior team carded a five-under-par 208 in the opening round of the TOYOTA Junior Golf World Cup in Aichi-Prefecture, Japan to finish just four shots adrift from Chile on Tuesday.
The Chilean side combined for a 204 to finish one shot clear of defending champions Venezuela and the United States in the prestigious event, supported by JAL.
The host nation moved into fourth on six under, while South Africa share fifth with last year’s early pacesetters, Mexico.
Limpopo’s Hennie du Plessis navigated the par-71 layout at Tokyo’s Chukyo Country Club in 67 strokes, while Altin van der Merwe from the Western Province returned a 69 and Southern Cape’s Jovan Rebula contributed an even-par 72 to the team’s opening tally.
Ekurhuleni’s Kyle McClatchie battled a cold putter to a non-counting 79.
Du Plessis said the conditions were good for scoring, but the course is quite tough.
“The course is in great nick and the greens are really smooth,” said the 17-year-old Sesambos golfer, who went as low as six-under but suffered a double drop at the last.
“The greens are quite large, but there was a bit of wind to contend with.
“It has been pretty hot and humid here, which has taken some getting used to, but we are off to a good start and we aim to improve as the week goes on.”
South African Golf Association vice-president, Gerhard Conradie, who travelled with the team to Japan, was happy that the team got off to a solid start.
“I am happy with how the boys started and I expects them to improve in the next couple of rounds,” Conradie said. “Unfortunately Hennie doubled at his last hole, but he still had a great round and helped us to a good, fighting position. Altin and Jovan were very steady, but Kyle had a nightmare with the putter.
“It’s a tough course and it demands a lot of patience. The birdies are out there, though, for the players who exercise accuracy and patience.”
While South Africa qualified by virtue of winning the All-Africa Junior Golf Championship, but this year, Africa is represented by two nations at the TOYOTA Junior Golf World Cup after this year’s runners-up of Africa’s most prestigious junior golf event also earned a berth in the line-up.
Zimbabwe’s Stuart Krog, Justin Kersten, Kieron Vincent and Mbongeni Mpahosa combined for an opening 224 in their debut at the world-class event.
Defending champion Jorge Garcia from Venezuela fired a seven-under-par 64 to top the Boys Individual Leaderboard.
He leads by one shot from Chile’s Joaquin Niemann and Cameron Young from the United States.
Du Plessis shares fifth with four other players.
The 22nd edition of the prestigious event features a field that consists of the best junior golfers from 15 countries across six continents, but this year’s event boasts another first as five Girls Teams were invited to participate.
The United States took the early lead on five-under-par 139, while Japan moved into second on two under and leads by one from Sweden.
For more information, please visit www.wjgtc.org or www.facebook.com/ToyotaJuniorGolfWorldCup.
FIRST ROUND BOYS TEAM STANDINGS
204 Chile (68-65-71)
205 United States (65-71-69); Venezuela (73-68-64)
207 Japan (70-67-70)
208 South Africa (67-72-69); Mexico (70-67-71)
209 Italy (66-72-71)
210 Australia (72-68-70)
211 Canada (72-68-71); France (73-67-71)
213 Norway (73-69-71); Thailand (75-67-71)
215 Korea (74-69-72)
218 Argentina (73-73-72)
224 Zimbabwe (71-76-77)
FIRST ROUND BOYS INDIVIDUAL STANDINGS
64 (-7) Jorge Garcia (VEN)
65 (-6) Joaquin Niemann (CHL); Cameron Young (USA)
66 (-5) Guido Migliozzi (ITA)
67 (-4) Hennie du Plessis (RSA); Paul Elissalde (FRA); Kaigo Tamaki (JAP); Aaron Terrazas (MEX); Suradit Yongcharoenchai (THA)
FIRST ROUND GIRLS TEAM STANDINGS
139 United States
FIRST ROUND GIRLS INDIVIDUAL STANDINGS
66 Amy Lee (USA)
69 Kim Sojung (KOR)
70 Linnea Strom (SWE)
71 Mizuho Konishi (JAP); Haruhi Nakao JAP)
NOTE TO EDITORS
South Africa has only tasted success once in the 21-year history of the event, with SA major winners Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel helping the country to victory in 2001.
The TOYOTA Junior Golf World Cup is the only junior golf championship in the world where the winning nations qualify to compete for the world championship title. Nearly 70 national teams participated in the regional qualifying events held on six continents.
In addition Oosthuizen and Schwartzel, Masters Champion Trevor Immelman was also a former participant in this event. Other notable former participants include Brendon de Jonge from Zimbabwe, Henrik Stenson from Sweden, Americans Anthony Kim, Kyle Stanley and Hunter Mahan, Ryuji Imada from Japan, Italy’s Edoardo Molinari, Justin Rose from England and Colombia’s Camilo Villegas.
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.