SA pair make a solid start in USA

South Africa’s Tristen Strydom opened his campaign at the 51st Junior Orange Bowl International Golf with a two-over-par 73 at the Biltmore Golf Club, while Ekurhuleni stable mate Paul Boshoff carded a 76 in Saturday’s first round in Coral Gables, Florida.

The Nomads SA Boys U-19 champions have some work to do to catch joint pacesetters, Giovanni Tadiotto from Belgium and Chile’s Joaquin Niemann, who set the target at the 6,742 yard layout at four under 67.

Strydom got off to a hot start with birdies at the par-five first and par-four third, but bogeys at the fifth and eighth erased the advantage and took him to the turn in even-par.

The current number two ranked amateur in South Africa double bogeyed the par-three 12th after dropping a shot at the 11th, but he rallied with back-to-back birdies at the 14th and 15th.

Another bogey at the closing hole, however, saw the 2014 Glacier Junior Series champion tie for 30th on two over.

Boshoff double bogeyed the par-three second and dropped further shots at the fifth and eighth, but the reigning SA number one junior shaved a shot off his deficit with a birdie at the par-four ninth.

After successive bogeys at the 11th and 12th, Boshoff settled down to finish in six over after completing the back nine of the famed Donald Ross-design in pars.

In the Girls Division, Sweden’s Linnea Strom posted also 67 to lead Colombia’s Maria Hoyos and France’s Agathe Laisne by a stroke.

Six girls completed the opening round at even-par or better, while 21 players in the Boys Division posted 71 or lower.

Boshoff’s father, Louis, who accompanied the two teenagers, said the conditions were a little trying.

“Paul and Tristen are both driving the ball superbly,” he said. “Unfortunately the area had a lot of rain recently. This has left the course pretty wet, and the balls are picking up quite a bit of mud.

“The subtle breaks of the Bermuda-grass greens are also a little tricky, but they both said they can improve after the opening round, so we expect them to do better as the tournament progresses.”

Strydom said it was an honour to line up in one of the world’s most prestigious junior golf tournaments in a field comprising the best junior golfers from around the world.

“This is definitely the highlight of our careers,” the 17-year-old said. “You cannot put a price on the experience we will gain here this week and we are only getting started.”

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Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.

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