SA quartet geared to start All-Africa Junior defence

Dylan Naidoo from Central Gauteng will lead South Africa’s title defence in the 2016 All-Africa Junior Golf Championship in Sousse, Tunisia today.

Naidoo will start the country’s title hunt for an 18th consecutive victory in the prestigious event at 08h30 alongside Kieran Vincent from Zimbabwe and Patrick Mwendapole from Zambia at the El Kantaoui Golf Course.

Marco Steyn from Central Gauteng, Boland’s Herman Loubser and new cap Dylan Mostert from Ekurhuleni follow at 08h40, 08h50 and 09h00 respectively.

“With all the formalities done, it’s down to the business side of the tournament,” said SAGPA Golf Integration Manager Eden Thompson, who accompanied the team to Tunisia.

“We got our first look at the Sea Course on Tuesday and the conditions were pretty benign during most part of our practice round. We did get a taste of the layout in the wind, though, when we were hit by a sandstorm towards the end of our session.

“It was a good experience, because there is a strong wind forecast for today. It is expected to gust from 42 to 65 km per hour, but since it only starting blowing really hard in the afternoon yesterday, we hope that holds true for today.”

Thompson said the course has many risk and reward opportunities and is bound to test the players’ course management.

“The course has two very different sides,” Thompson said. “The front nine is short, tight and tricky with a number of holes offering risk and reward options.

“It has reasonable elevation changes and the guys will be faced with a number of driveable par fours, but the risk of missing in the wrong spots will dictate choices made. The greens on the front nine are large in areas, but because of strange shapes, the targets remain very small.

“The back nine is longer than the front by about 220m and is a lot more exposed to the prevailing wind off the Mediterranean Sea. The fairways are generally wider and the greens are large, which makes distance control very important.

“All the greens run pretty well and the strong nap will take some getting used to as it has a severe effect on pace and lines selected.

“It was pretty hot during our practice round – around 31 degrees Celsius – but the players enjoyed the layout. I believe it will present a very different challenge in the wind, though. An interesting aspect of the course is a number of ruins and buildings on the course.

“Ordinarily buildings are dealt with as “obstructions” in the Local Rules, but during the championship the buildings on the course are to be treated as integral parts of the course, meaning relief from the buildings is not an option.”

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

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