Son and Le Roux impress at Curro SAJI
Eagle Canyon’s Woo-Ju Son leads the South African charge in the Girls Division of the Curro South African Juniors International (SAJI), while Free State golfer Steven le Roux blazed a trail to the top of the Boys Division leaderboard at the 36-hole mark in the Global Junior Golf Tour event at Durbanville Golf Club on Wednesday.
South Africa’s Le Roux collected a pair of birdies on the front nine and caught fire with five birdies on the trot from the 11th hole. He bogeyed the par-three 17th, but a sizzling six-under-par 66 was good enough to carry the 17-year-old to the top the leaderboard.
The South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB) player leads at three under 141, but the Schoemans Park golfer will have to keep a close eye on the man on his shoulder, Marcus Helligkilde from Denmark.
The 2014 Danish Boys Championship runner-up also reeled half-a-dozen birdies to trade off against four bogeys for a 70 and lags just one shot off the pace.
South Africa’s Altin van der Merwe, who lost the title bid to countryman Jovan Rebula last year, also threw his name in the hat with an equally impressive 67.
Like Le Roux, the Western Province junior only surrendered one shot at his home course when he bogeyed the par-three seventh.
Van der Merwe tied for third on one under 143 with Timo Vahlenkamp from Germany, who also dipped five strokes under par, and Finland’s Sami Välimäki, who signed for an even-par 72.
Son from Gauteng fired a superb three-under-par 69 to share the second round lead with overnight leader, Azelia Meichtry from Switzerland on two-under-par 142.
The Swiss junior started well with birdies at the second, fifth and sixth holes. Son, who lagged two off the pace after an opening 73, kept in touch with a pair of birdies on the front nine and another gain at the par-five 11th.
Both players bogeyed the par-three 12th and Son dropped another shot at the 13th, but the 14-year-old rallied with birdies at 15 and 18 to set the early clubhouse target.
Meichtry also took advantage at the 15th, but the reigning Nomads WGWP Junior champion gave two strokes back with bogeys at the 16th and 18th.
The South African challenge is further strengthened by defending champion Kaleigh Telfer, current number one ranked Ivanna Samu, Eastern Province Championship winner Bianca Theron and Western Province number one Cara Gorlei.
Telfer edged out fellow Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation member Theron for the title last year.
The Bryanston golfer started five strokes off the pace, but notched five birdies for a 69 to finish in third on one over 145
Samu eagled the par-five 15th on her way to a 70, Theron also registered a 70 and Gorlei joined her compatriots at four over with a 69.
About the Curro South African Juniors International (SAJI)
This is the fifth time South Africa plays host to the Curro South African Juniors International is the only junior international tournament and the second time the event is sponsored by Curro.
The field of 150 competitors include 83 international under 19 boys and girls from Korea, Mexico, USA, Canada, Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, Norway, Spain, Northern Ireland, Reunion, France, Namibia, UAE, Scotland, Austria, Zimbabwe, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Colombia and the host nation.
This marks the largest ever international participation of junior golfers to have played a tournament in South Africa. The SAJI is a fully integrated international amateur event and is endorsed by the Women’s Golf South Africa (WGSA) and the South African Golf Association (SAGA).
The SAJI qualifies for World Junior Rankings and the Royal & Ancient World Amateur Rankings, as well as SAGA and WGSA ranking points.
The organisers of the SAJI also created opportunities to showcase the world of golf to the youth of South Africa who may not otherwise have had the opportunity. Ten spots were allocated to seven boys and three girls currently enrolled in the South African Development Board programme.
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association and Womens Golf South Africa.