SA squad set for big British summer

Six of South Africa’s top amateurs are primed to kick off a four-week tour in the United Kingdom with the St Andrews Links Trophy at the Old and Jubilee Courses in Scotland today.

The squad includes Teaghan Gauche, Jason Smith, Hendrikus Stoop and James du Preez from Gauteng North, Central Gauteng’s Matthew Spacey and Jade Buitendag from Southern Cape and are accompanied by experienced coach and seasoned Sunshine Tour campaigner, Kevin Stone.

”This tour is geared at giving our rising stars some valuable international experience and exposure,” said South African Golf Association president, Gerhard Conradie.

“It is most fitting that they will start their tour at the Home of Golf, the fabled St Andrews. This event is among the most prestigious international championships on the world calendar and it annually attracts the world’s top amateurs. Our own Ernie Els and Trevor Immelman are among a long list of Major winners, who have competed in the St Andrews Links Trophy since its inception in 1989.”

From St Andrews, the group will move to Inverness to play a three-way match at Castle Stuart Golf Course on 10 and 11 June against members of the Scottish Golf Union and the Australian Amateur Squad.

The squad then travels to Carnoustie and Panmure Golf Clubs, host venues for this year’s Amateur Championship from 15 – 20 June.

“The St Andrews Links and the Three-Way Match should provide our players with a great warm-up for the Amateur Championship,” Conradie said.

“We watched with great anticipation as the final round between Bradley Neil from Scotland and South Africa’s Zander Lombard unfolded last year and look forward to seeing how our next wave of amateurs will progress in the 120th staging of this celebrated championship.

“Carnoustie is among the world’s most famous courses and has hosted The Open seven times, and the Amateur Championship three times. Although not as well known, Panmure is regularly rated among the top 20 courses in the United Kingdom and should provide another great test in Links golf for our players.

“In 1966, South Africa’s Bobby Cole lifted the Amateur Championship title at Carnoustie, so who knows, perhaps one of our boys will go the full distance this year.”

The group will end the tour with a trip to the heart of Robin Hood County, where they will compete in the English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship, better known as the Brabazon Trophy.

Nott Golf Club in Hollinwell will host the championship for a fifth time from 24 – 2 7June.

“This is another 72-hole stroke play event that offers our players the chance to gain experience and compete for world ranking points against a strong international field,” Conradie said.

“We believe it is vital to the growth and development of our players to afford them the opportunity to compete in Europe. We know it is very tough for our amateurs to adjust to the conditions in Europe and we place no pressure on them to perform.

“They are taken from their comfort zone and are exposed to a different style of golf and courses that are very different to what they are used to at home. They play well known courses against top international competition under immense pressure, but this exercise is about pushing them a little harder and helping them to become more resilient and emotionally independent, which are qualities they will need to make it in the pro ranks.”

PHOTO – The South African squad at St Andrews; credit SAGA.
From left to right – Teaghan Gauche, Matthew Spacey, James du Preez, Jason Smith, Kevin Stone (manager), Hendrikus Stoop and Jade Buitendag.

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

Posted in