Steyn seals Dimension Data Junior Open win

Marco Steyn boxed a five-footer for birdie to win the inaugural Dimension Data Junior Open by one stroke at Fancourt on Friday, but instead of celebrating, the TuksSport Golf Academy player immediately turned to console playing partner Luca Filippi.

Less than five minutes earlier, Filippi held a two stroke lead, but his title bid died a watery death after a duffed chip shot plunged in the hazard guarding the green at the par-five closing hole of the Montagu.

Although Steyn employed a hat-trick of birdies around the turn to catch up to Filippi, he never imaged that he would emerge the victor at Fancourt Country Club.

“My first thought was for Luca,” said Steyn.

“We all know this game has a way of cutting you down to size and I’ve been there myself, but it was hard to watch him lose the tournament at the final hole. He struggled with his wedges and his putter, especially on the front nine, but it was a really tough break to hit it in the water after putting up such a hard fight all day to stay ahead.

“Luca is a great young player and he should take away a lot of positives from this week. He showed a lot of character out there and we had to pull out all the stops to catch him.”

Filippi opened with a five-under-par 67 at the Outeniqua course and stamped his authority on the championship with a four under 69 at the Links in the second round.

The 16-year-old Province golfer carried an eight stroke lead into the final round and despite his struggles, clung to a two stroke lead heading down the last.

“I hit a really good tee shot and reached the green in two, but Luca had to lay up and then he duffed his chip into the water,” Steyn explained. “I hit my third shot well to the right of the flag.

“My first putt was a good 15 meters and I wanted to lag it close, but I caught it a bit hard and it ran about eight feet past the hole. Luckily I made the return for birdie to win.”

Steyn triumphed on five-under-par 212 with rounds of 72, 72 and 68 and was pleased to return to the winner’s circle
“I would have accepted a second place finish just as easily, but I am relieved to win again, especially after struggling so much at the Toyota Junior World Cup,” the 17-year-old Modderfontein golfer said.

“This return to form comes at a really good time for me, because I have the Limpopo Open coming up and then I’m compete in the US Junior Championship.”

Filippi closed with a 77 to finish in second on six under and two strokes clear of fellow Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member Keelan van Wyk, who registered rounds of 74, 72 and 69.

Reigning Nomads SA Boys U-15 champion Wilco Nienaber, who carded a final round 74 to grab a share of the six-way tie at three over, will also be happy to hit some form ahead of the Nomads SA Boys U-17 Championship next week.

Nienaber shared fourth with Free State’s Ruan Pretorius, EEFF player Anuerin Gounden from KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng North’s David Opperman, Kyle Barker from Central Gauteng and Martin Vorster from the Louis Oosthuizen Academy in Southern Cape.

212 Marco Steyn 72 72 68
213 Luca Filippi 67 69 77
215 Keelan van Wyk 74 72 69
220 Ruan Pretorius 74 76 70; Anuerin Gounden 74 75 71; Wilco Nienaber 73 73 74; Dawid Opperman 72 76 72; Martin Vorster 71 75 74; Kyle Barker 70 81 69
221 Deon Germishuys 73 79 69; Franklin Manchest 68 77 76
222 Ruben Coetzer 72 78 72; Alistair Snowdon 72 78 72
223 Jayden Schaper 75 75 73; Dylan Naidoo 74 74 75; Kyle McClatchie 73 76 74; Clifford Thompson 72 74 77; Eric Wowor 68 83 72
224 Keegan Mclachlan 68 80 76
225 Willie Olivier 75 73 77; Jacques Smith 73 80 72; Herman Loubser 72 76 77; Matt Saulez 71 78 76; Jovan Rebula 70 75 80; Noel Anderson 69 81 75

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.

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