Thomas triumphs at Joburg Junior Open
Hilton College graduate Keagan Thomas claimed the inaugural Joburg Junior Open with a one stroke victory at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club on Friday.
The 18-year-old Zimbali golfer set up his first national triumph with an excellent drive and approach at the par-five 18th on the tough East Course. Thomas lagged his first putt within half a foot of the hole and boxed the birdie putt for a 69 to triumph on five-under-par 139.
Fellow KwaZulu-Natal golfer and joint overnight leader, Luke Mayo, carded a 71 to for second with Keegan de Lange from Pretoria Country Club, who fired a superb five under 67.
Ekurhuleni’s Kyle McClatchie and Rosswell Sinclair finished a further shot adrift after respective rounds of 70 and 71.
Thomas was over to moon to finish the season on such a high note.
“One of my goals this season was to claim my first victory on the South African Golf Association’s Junior Circuit,” Thomas said. “I almost can’t believe that I’ve ticked that box.
“It was tough to travel outside KZN as I was in matric this year, but I really ended the season on the highest note ever.”
Thomas lagged one behind Mayo, Jason Froneman and Caylum Boon after an opening 70.
The Pietermaritzburg golfer caught the overnight leaders with a birdie at the first, but was back at two under after a bogey at the fourth.
However, a birdie at the par-five eighth brought him back into the fold and he joined the frontrunners when he hit it stiff and tapped in for a birdie at the short 14th.
“I knew that Keegan was in the clubhouse on four under, going down the 18th,” Thomas said. “I had to try for an eagle or at least a birdie to win. I smashed a driver down the middle and hit a six-iron from about 185 meters to 25 meters from the pin. I just lagged it close and tapped in for the birdie.”
Thomas won the Gordon Grieve Trophy for the third consecutive year when he claimed the Match Play Championship at Hilton College earlier this season.
He qualified for the SA Schools team and was instrumental in helping Hilton College to their fifth victory in the KZN Schools Golf Championship in eight years.
Not only did the team beat rivals Michaelhouse by more than 30 strokes, but Thomas was crowned the 2014 KZN Champion after posting rounds of 66 and 72.
He recently relocated to Paarl, where he joined Pearl Valley Golf & Country Estate and attends the SwingFit Academy in preparation for the Sunshine Tour’s Qualifying School in January.
In June he plans to compete on a satellite Tour in Germany.
““I’d like to get some more international experience,” he said. “It makes sense for me to play in Germany, because my grandfather still has a house in Germany, so I’ll have a base there.”
Froneman carded a 73 to tie for sixth, while Boon closed with a 76 for a share of 12th.
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Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association