SA juniors off to great start at All-Africa Junior
The South African junior teams made a promising start in the 2017 All-Africa Junior Golf Championship, which teed off at Royal Harare Golf Club on Tuesday.
Gauteng trio Kajal Mistry, Symone Henriques and Kaleigh Telfer posted an opening even-par 144 to lead the host union by 15 strokes in the Girls Competition, while Luca Filippi, Jayden Schaper, Garrick Higgo and Christo Lamprecht got South Africa’s title defence underway with a pacesetting five-under-par 211.
South Africa’s leading senior and junior amateur Mistry fired a three-under-par 69 to better the course record by one shot. The 16-year-old turned two under after birdies at the third, fifth and seventh and she ended a run of eight straight pars on the back nine with a birdie finish.
“I hit a lot of fairways, which is key to scoring at this course, because the fairways are very narrow and the rough is absolutely brutal,” said Mistry. “It’s really tough to find your ball, first of all, and even tougher to work it out of the rough. I missed a few putts on the front nine, but they started to drop on the back nine. I hit my driver and irons very nicely, and the putter did the rest.”
The low round of the day also lifted the Randpark golfer to the top of the Girls Competition Individual Leaderboard.
Telfer and Henriques both returned rounds of 75 to tie for second, while Zimbabwe’s Danielle Bekker returned a 77 to edge out Kellie Gachanga from Kenya for fourth place in the individual standings.
Filippi from Western Province and Schaper from Ekurhuleni carded rounds of two under 70, while Higgo from Boland and Southern Cape’s Lamprecht contributed rounds of one-under-par 71 to edge into a one shot lead over last year’s silver medallists, Zimbabwe.
“The course played substantially shorter than expected, scoring was still not easy,” said SA Boys team manager Eden Thompson. “The boys felt the speed of the greens was a little quicker than during Monday’s practice round, so pace was initially an issue, but everyone said the surface remains fantastic.
“Jayden played solid from start to finish. He managed his game well and didn’t take unnecessary risks. He plotted his way around the course and kept giving himself birdie chances. He missed a short birdie putt at 17 and left another birdie chance in the throat on 18, but he did most everything right.
“Luca started par-birdie, but took a while to warm up. By his own admission, his ball striking was just not to the standard and missed putts left him fighting par over the first nine holes. He turned it on over the back, though, and four birdies in five holes left him at three-under with three holes to play.
“He couldn’t take advantage of the par five 16th and then didn’t up-and-down at 17 to save a seven-footer for par. Two under playing the last, Luca had a 20-something putt for birdie to dip under 70 but the putt just slid by.”
Thompson said reigning Sanlam SA Amateur champion Lamprecht also had a slow start and the country’s top ranked Higgo was left frustrated by the short stick.
“Christo was three over after five holes, but he fought through the bad patch to find some rhythm. He posted a hard-fought for 71 despite not playing really well. He got to two under through 17, but couldn’t up-and-down at the ninth to save par. He felt that his irons in particular were off but he hit balls immediately after the round and feels he may have sorted out the problem.
“Poor Garrick played solid as always, but just couldn’t buy a putt. He said he either has to hit it closer or start holing putts. He was two-under with three holes left, but his tee shot at the seventh ended in the fairway bunker. From there he dunked it in the greenside bunker and couldn’t up-and-down.
“On the driveable eighth, he hit a weak flop shot which ended in the bunker and again he failed save par, but his round ended on a high note when he drained a long putt for birdie on ninth.
“I think Zimbabwe’s Justin Kersten proved with his five-under-par 67 that playing solid and making good choices will give you ample birdie opportunities. Our players are executing well and their course management is good, but we just need some more putts to drop.”
Following the first round action, the teams all nominated one player for a Longest Drive competition where Higgo and Telfer claimed runner-up finishes.
Girls Competition Leaderboard – Round 1
144 South Africa
Girls Competition Individual Leaderboard – Round 1 (top 10)
69 Kajal Mistry RSA
75 Kaleigh Telfer RSA; Simone Henriques RSA
77 Daniel Bekker ZIM
78 Kellie Wahito Gachanga Kenya
82 Emily Jones ZIM
87 Margaret Nyamukondiwa ZIM
92 Ashley Pouline Ouma KEN
93 Otieno Loice Akinyi KEN
98 Martha Matyola ZAM; Miness Siami ZAM
103 Rachel Namusiya ZAM
BOYS COMPETITION LEADERBOARD – Round 1
211 South Africa
222 Reunion Island
229 Uganda; Morocco
Boys Competition Individual Leaderboard – Round 1 (top 10)
67 Justin Kersten ZIM
69 David Kamulinda UGA
70 Luca Filippi RSA; Jayden Schaper RSA
71 Garrick Higgo RSA; Christo Lamprecht RSA
72 Thompson Masiya ZIM
73 David Amm ZIM
74 Alexandre Lasalarte REU
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of GolfRSA, a SAGA and WGSA Not-For-Profit company.