South African juniors sweep the board in India

South African won both the team events at the Hex City Albatross Junior Championships played in New Delhi this week. The-54 hole tournament finished today with South Africa’s juniors all on the prize rostram. Lara Weinstein was the overall winner in the A Division, with Izel Pieters runner -up in the girls’ A Division. Dylan Raubenheimer won the boy’s A Division and Thriston Lawrence lost on the second play-off hole in the boys’ B Division.

Erica Lefson reports, “Oh my goodness – what an exciting day. As usual the scores were not as good across the field with the draw now seeded and the pressure on.

“Thriston Lawrence, celebrating his 14th birthday today and with a one shot lead in his division, teed off first of the South Africans.

“The putts were not dropping and the ball not going where he wanted – with drops at the two, seven an nine he turned three over. He was now tied for the lead. He played a level second nine – again not a birdie on the card and so now had a play-off.

“ The 18th hole was played as the sudden death play-off hole. Thriston missed a six foot putt for birdie and so halved the first play off hole and so down the 18th again. Unfortunately this time the hole was not kind – he did not have a good drive or second and left his third in the bunker to go down in six against a five from his opponent. He was so disappointed to finish runner-up after yesterday’s great round but all part of the learning experience and know he will be stronger for it. The winner was Shubhabkar Sharma on the 2nd play off hole.

“Lara Weinstein was next. She raced out on the course with a birdie at the first from four feet and then a 25ft putt on the second to be two under after two. She then had her only drop of the day at the par four fourth and then hung on with great putts to save par and parred her way home to return a one-under 71 She won the girls A division and was also winner overall – beat the boys. This will give Lara confidence for future overseas events.

“Dylan Raubenheimer and Izel Pieters were in the same three ball and both experienced a difficult outward nine. Izel dropped on one, four, six and nine to turn four over. She also never found a birdie all day and dropped two more shots on the back nine which she played more like her usual steady self. Today I think there were a few nerves which is good experience and she goes home knowing she has had a great tournament. She was runner up to Lara in the girls’ A division.

“Dylan needed to stay sick for another day !! He started the day four ahead and quickly gave back shots. He had drops on the four, five, six and eight to turn four over. He then dropped on 10 and 11 to be six over and I thought he had almost given up!! However birdies at 12 and 14 brought him back into the game and going down 17 he was still one ahead. But his tee shot on 17 par three ended in the bunker and resulted in another drop. Going down 18 he was tied in first place. Thriston, diving down to the tee on 18 for the playoff told Dylan he had to make birdie to win or join him in having to play a playoff!! He had a great second just short of the green (18th par 5) and chipped to about eight feet. Yeah…. he sunk the putt to win by one. And YES we took both team events.

“So a very successful tournament – the competition was not as wide as some events but as this is only the second time India has hosted this event and they expect it to grow and draw more top players. This tournamant clashed with another event so some players were missing. It was great for us to beat Thailand who beat us in Jakarta.

“India has confirmed that they will be coming to South Africa for the Master and I am hoping that Thailand will also bring a team.”

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