Schaper seals Nomads SA Boys hat-trick
Ekurhuleni junior Jayden Schaper lifted his third SA Boys trophy when he defeated reigning Sanlam SA Amateur champion Christo Lamprecht in a play-off for the Nomads SA Boys U-19 Stroke Play title on Wednesday.
The 16-year-old Ebotse player returned a final round 73 to lead the field, but Lamprecht from Southern Cape closed with a 69 to end his campaign at Langebaan Golf and Sports Club alongside Schaper at 14-under-par 274.
Playing into the teeth of a harsh south-westerly wind, the pair registered bogeys on the first play-off hole, but Schaper ended the sudden-death shootout with a birdie at the 18th to complete his hat-trick of titles.
He was only 11 when he won the Nomads SA Boys U-13 Championship in Nelspruit and last year, Schaper collected the U-15 title at the Fish River Sun Country Club. The possibility of a ‘grand slam’ is still on the cards with the Nomads SA Boys U-17 Championship at Rustenburg Golf Club in July, but for the moment, the Benoni teenager has more important matters on the mind.
“The Match Play Championship starts tomorrow and my first priority is to get past the first round, but I will celebrate a little bit with my friends,” said Schaper.
After his victory, Schaper chilled out with 2016 champion Deon Germishuys, Wilco Nienaber and Jordan Burnand playing Play Station. “It will help me to take my mind of things and to reset for my first match against Otto (van Buynder),” said Schaper. “I made some great putts to hang in there and in the end I got my reward. It was extremely windy out there and I am very tired, but it’s a great tired.
“It would be great to win the double, but match play is a different kind of beast. You have to stay on top of things, because in stroke play you have enough hole to come back from a bad hole but in match play it can mean the end of your week.”
And Schaper knows exactly what a bad hole can mean.
After a third round 66, Schaper led the field at 15 under and held a four shot lead over Lamprecht. He had the upper hand for the first nine holes, despite a bogey start, and turned level after picking up a birdie at the par five eighth.
The Southern Cape golfer edged closer with a brace of birdies at eight and nine and a double bogey from Schaper at the par three 11th narrowed the gap to just one shot.
“The wind was gathering speed and I was between clubs,” Schaper said. “I over-clubbed and my ball pitched at the back of the green and bounced into the water.
Both players birdied 12 and 15, but Schaper’s final bogey at the short 16th tied the pair and the deadlock remained at the end of regulation play.
“It was a little scrappy down the back nine,” Schaper said. “The wind was pumping when we headed to the play-off. We both hit driver down 10 and was on the green in two, but we both three-putted.”
Schaper and Lamprecht both used irons off the tee at 18 to finish short of the water and laid up with their second shots. On the green for three, the duo had similar lines with Schaper 17 feet short of the hole and Lamprecht inside him at 15 feet.
“I got the pace and the line of the first putt just perfect and boxed for birdie and Christo also hit a solid putt, but his just missed just left,” Schaper said. “It was a nice tussle with Christo and you never know, we might have another go in Saturday’s Match Play final.”
Schaper and Lamprecht came into the Nomads SA Boys U-19 Championship in great form, having contributed to a runner-up finish for the GolfRSA Junior Team in the African Amateur Championship Team Competition at Leopard Creek in early March and a 19th consecutive victory for South Africa in the All-Africa Junior Golf Championship in Zimbabwe last week.
Fellow team-mates Garrick Higgo and Luca Filippi were just as impressive in Langebaan.
South Africa’s top ranked Higgo closed with 71 to guarantee himself another stab at the match play title after losing in the final to Ross Sinclair last year. The Boland junior finished in a tie for fourth with Nienaber (72) and one shot shy of third-placed Luke Mayo (71) at 10 under.
Filippi from Western Province, the low scorer in Zimbabwe, shot 69 for ninth on his own at 281.
North West’s Andre van Dyk, Ruan Groenewald from Mpumalanga and Western Province’s Germishuys shared sixth at eight under after respective rounds of 69, 69 and 72.
Schaper’s first round opponent Van Buynder edged out Slade Pickering, Dylan Underwood, Eben Spangenberg and Ayden Senger to seal the final spot into the 32-man field for the Match Play Championship.
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of GolfRSA, a SAGA and WGSA Not-For-Profit company.