Strydom leads SA Boys U-19 action in Polokwane

Top ranked Tristen Strydom will lead the country’s young amateurs into battle at the prestigious Nomads SA Boys U-19 Championship at Polokwane Golf Club in the Limpopo province this week.

Strydom is targeting the rare double and hopes to emulate Richard Sterne (1999), Dylan Frittelli (2008) and Piet Retief player Zander Gous, who became only the third junior golfer in the 25-year history of the event to lift both titles at Benoni Country Club in 2013.

The 17-year-old Ekurhuleni player made it halfway last year when he claimed a three stroke victory in the Stroke Play Qualifier at Umhlali Country Club, but he was ousted by Boland’s Herman Loubser in the quarter-finals.

The country’s number one ranked player is undoubtedly one of the strongest candidates in this year’s championship, but he could face strong opposition from in-form Loubser and Gauteng North’s Keegan de Lange.

Loubser is coming into the event on the back of a two stroke victory in the Nomads North vs South at Bloemfontein Golf Club on Thursday, while De Lange celebrated victories in the Dr Bam tournament on the junior circuit and the Free State Open on the Open Amateur circuit this season.

Other strong candidates in the title race include Nomads North vs South runner-up Sentanio Minnie from Ekurhuleni, as well as Southern Cape’s Franklin Manchest, Luke Mayo from KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng North’s Keegan McClachlan, who all finished in the top five in Bloemfontein.

Recent Western Province U-23 Championship winner Luca Filippi and Free State junior Wilco Nienaber, back-to-back winner of the Nomads SA Boys U-15 Championship and the Nomads National Order of Merit at Durban Country Club, cannot be discounted either and the lethal Central Gauteng pair, Marco Steyn and Dylan Naidoo, could also pose a threat.

Strydom will start his title defence in the Stroke Play Qualifier on Monday and is taking nothing for granted.

“I am a big believer of the old saying that golf is played on grass and not on paper,” he said.

“There are a lot of strong competitors in the line-up this year, especially the players who competed in Bloemfontein last week and are carrying some form.

“We all know that on any given day, any player can hit his stride. You can’t plan for it and you can’t control what the other guys are doing anyway, so I will just try to put myself in contention early on and see where that takes me.

“There is little point in worrying about stuff you can’t control. I’ll just keep the focus on my own game and hopefully all the aspects of my game works well this week to give me a shot.”

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

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