South Africans join an impressive field at Royal Troon

Three South African players, Michaela Fletcher, Haydn Porteous and Tristen Strydom join an impressive field at Royal Troon, Scotland to compete for the Duke of York Young Champions Trophy from 11th – 13th September. 18-year-old Haydn Porteous is the highest ranked amateur in the field and is considered to be a favourite. Last year at Royal Liverpool, Haydn was just one shot away from making the play-off in which England’s Harry Casey defeated the European Young Masters girls’ champion, Harang Lee.

Amongst the 58 junior champions (32 boys and 26 girls) from 33 countries who will be out to give the South Africans a tough time are Gavin Hall from the USA, Rigel Fernandes from India, Tyler Hodge from New Zealand, Kenta Konoshi from Japan and Craig Howie from Scotland. Jing Yan from China who finished as the leading amateur in the 2012 LET World Ladies’ Championship and Casey Danielson from the USA are rated the favourites amongst the girls.

The Duke of York’s initial vision for this tournament has not changed and was mainly born out of alarm at the number of young players who were turning professional without having a real understanding of what they were about. The former Captain of The R & A considered that they needed an event in which they could look at their rivals of the future and draw comparisons, and the event has certainly grown in stature since its inception in 2001 when 11 players from 6 countries participated.

The weather forecast predicts varying amounts of rain each day, and it will be interesting to see whether Royal Troon will bare its teeth for this year’s participants. Certainly scores from previous winners of Championships at Troon have demonstrated that the course is a stern test of golf even for those in the professional ranks.

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