Top amateurs named for international action this February
The South African Golf Association (SAGA) has named an Open Amateur team and junior side for two international events this February. South African number two Zander Lombard and sixth ranked Louis Taylor will lead the senior team in the country’s title defence at the annual Leopard Trophy against members of the Scottish Golf Union’s Mens National Squad at Leopard Creek in Mpumalanga from 18-19 February.
A deadly combination last year, Lombard and Taylor will combine with six newcomers in the 36-hole Test, including current number one Christiaan Bezuidenhout, reigning Sanlam SA Amateur champion Thriston Lawrence, NJ Arnoldi, Philip Kruse, Matthew Spacey and Werner van Niekerk.
While Kruse, Spacey and Van Niekerk will don the national colours for the first time, the remaining players all enjoyed a taste of international success last year.
Lawrence was a member of the victorious side that claimed South Africa’s 13th consecutive victory at the Africa Zone VI Golf Championship and a member of the junior team that sealed the country’s 15th consecutive All-Africa Junior Golf Championship title in April.
Arnoldi was a member of the SA team that extended the country’s dominance at the African Amateur Golf Teams Championship in October, while Bezuidenhout accompanied Taylor to the biennial Spirit Invitational in November, where the South Africans took fifth.
Lombard and Van Niekerk also represented the University of Pretoria in Scotland against teams from St. Andrews University, the Scottish Golf Union (SGU) and the Scandinavian School of Golf. The Tuks team scored a runaway victory in the invitation-only quadrangle tournament marking the 600th anniversary of the University of St Andrews.
“We lose some of our top players to the professional ranks each year, but it is gratifying to know that South Africa has such a large talent pool to draw from,” said SAGA President André Pieterse.
“We are extremely grateful to the Scots for providing us with an opportunity each year to uncover the emerging talent and we are confident that the team we have selected will embrace the chance to test their resolve against some tough opposition at Leopard Creek.”
Meanwhile a formidable eight-man junior side will face the Scots and a team from the South African Development Board’s Elite Squad at Randpark on 18 February.
Current number one Kyle McClatchie leads the way alongside numbers two to five Jovan Rebula, Hennie du Plessis, Altin van der Merwe and Keegan de Lange, while David Meyers, Paul Boshoff and Jason Froneman, ranked seventh, eighth and ninth respectively, complete the team.
“We’re very excited about the junior team for this year’s Triangular,” Pieterse said. “All eight players are ranked inside the top 10, while Thriston Lawrence’s selection for Leopard Creek paved the way for Jason Froneman to join the side.
“Jason proved himself an invaluable asset to the SA team at the All-Africa Junior Golf Championships last year. All the players have already underlined their potential in the first three events in January and we are expecting a lot from them this season,” said Pieterse.
Open Amateur Team for Leopard Trophy
Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Ekurhuleni)
Zander Lombard (Gauteng North)
Thriston Lawrence (Mpumalanga)
NJ Arnoldi (Ekurhuleni)
Louis Taylor (Central Gauteng)
Philip Kruse (Gauteng North)
Matthew Spacey (Central Gauteng)
Werner van Niekerk (Gauteng North)
Junior Amateur Team for Triangular
Kyle McClatchie (Ekurhuleni)
Jovan Rebula (Southern Cape)
Hennie du Plessis (Limpopo)
Altin van der Merwe (Western Province)
Keegan de Lange (Gauteng North)
David Myers (Central Gauteng)
Paul Boshoff (Ekurhuleni)
Jason Froneman (Ekurhuleni)
Manager for both teams: Llewellyn van Leeuwen.