Solid SA performance at Italian U-16 Champs

After helping South Africa to a runner-up finish in the Nations Cup, Ekurhuleni’s Kyle McClatchie carried his form to a joint third finish at the seventh Italian International Under-16 Championship on Thursday.

Gauteng North’s Keegan de Lange gave the team a great start in the 36-hole team competition with an opening 73, but the team slipped to fifth, five shots behind pacesetters Norway, after McClatchie faltered with an 80 in the first round at the Golf Club Biella Le Betulle.

But McClatchie retaliated with an impressive one-under-par 72 in the second round, while De Lange contributed a 77. Their combined score of 149 lifted South Africa to second in the final team standings on a total score of 10-over-par 302.

South Africa finished five shots behind Norway and their runner-up finish marked the country’s best finish since Haydn Porteous, Josh de Klerk and Bryce Bibby combined to win the second Nations Cup in 2008.

South Africa also finished third in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011 in the 36-hole team competition.

McClatchie’s superb second round effort also boosted him to joint 10th at the halfway mark.

Four birdies, offset by three bogeys saw him close with a third round 72 and a one-bogey 72 in the final round sealed his share of third at four-over-par 296.

De Lange collected four birdies over the back nine for a third round 72. Although the 16-year-old dropped four shots in three holes around the turn in the final round, he rallied two birdies for a 75 and a share of sixth on five-over-par 297.

Although Porteous has been the only South African to win the championship in 2008, McClatchie and De Lange continued a strong run of top-10 finishes for South Africa.

Yubin Jung and JG Claassen tied for third and sixth respectively in the inaugural event in 2007, while former SA number one Porteous tied for sixth in 2009 and finished joint fourth in 2010.

Shane Allen claimed a share of eighth in 2010, while Tristen Strydom finished joint second and Dylan Raubenheimer joint fourth in 2011.

Meanwhile Ross Sinclair followed earlier rounds of 76-75-75 with a final round 86 that plunged the 15-year-old Tshwane golfer to joint 32nd on 20-over-par 312. SA number one junior Jovan Rebula missed the cut by four shots after carding round of 81 and 79.

The seventh Italian International Under-16 Championship was won by Norway’s Kristoffer Reitan, who claimed a wire-to-wire victory with rounds of 71-71-70-74.

Eden Thompson from the South African Golf Association (SAGA) accompanied the juniors to Valcarozza in the north of Italy. The SAGA’s Junior, Senior and Development coordinator said the players were a credit to the country and their families.

“Our boys went up against some of the top juniors in Europe and the boys were great ambassadors for South Africa,” Thompson said.

“Their impeccable behaviour on and off the course is a credit to their families and I was very proud of them throughout the tournament. It was a stern test for them and they handled the pressure extremely well. They played well as individuals, worked well as a unit and left having made their mark on the international circuit.

“It was wonderful to see how they embraced this opportunity to gain international competitive experience and I trust that they will value this experience for years to come and build on what they learned here this week.”

Click HERE to view the final leaderboard.

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