Top juniors on parade in Dimension Data Junior Open

Reigning Nomads SA Boys U-19 champion Dylan Naidoo spearheads an immensely talented field in the inaugural Dimension Data Junior Open at Fancourt Country Club in George from 1-3 July.

Naidoo, who holds the number one spot in the South African Golf Association (SAGA) Junior Rankings, leads the cream of South African junior golf at the regular Sunshine Tour stop.

Dimension Data Executive Chairman Jeremy Ord said the company is excited to expand their 20 year association with the Sunshine Tour to include the junior ranks.

“We extended our involvement with professional golf to include the Sunshine Ladies Tour two years ago and we feel that it is fitting to demonstrate our faith in and commitment to the future development of South Africa’s rising golf talent,” Ord said.

“Through our partnership with the Tour, we are proud to empower the next generation to reach for their dreams and to invest in their future.

“We trust that the juniors will enjoy the Dimension Data Junior Open at Fancourt and gain valuable experience as they navigate the unique challenges of the three courses at this world-class venue.”

The 78-man field was determined by way of exemptions from the SAGA National Junior Rankings, while spots were extended to the top players per union, as well as the leading players from the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB) and the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation (EEFF).

The balance of the field was made up by handicap ballot from the remaining entries.

In addition to Naidoo, the field will feature eight of the top ranked juniors in the country, including Marco Steyn from Gauteng, Kyle McClatchie from Ekurhuleni, Luca Filippi from Western Province, Boland’s Herman Loubser, Jovan Rebula from Southern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal’s Luke Mayo and Matt Saulez, who edged out Naidoo by one stroke to lift the Nomads National Order of Merit Coastal at St Francis Links on Monday.

Rebula, a member of the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member will lead the local charge alongside Alex van Wyk from Fancourt, Alan Lones from Kingswood and SAGDB standouts Riaan Grootboom and Franklin Manchest.

SAGA Golf Integration Manager Eden Thompson said the interest in the tournament has been phenomenal.

“We received more than 120 entries, which rivalled the entries for our two flagship events, the Nomads SA Boys U-17 and U-19 Championships,” Thompson said.

“This event is a wonderful opportunity for our emerging stars to showcase their talent at a world-class venue while getting a glimpse of what it takes to compete on the professional stage.

“The Dimension Data Junior Open will also be contested over 54 holes, with one round played at each of the three spectacular courses – the Montagu, Outeniqua and The Links – and we are very excited to see our top juniors experience Fancourt just as the professionals do in the Dimension Data Pro-Am.

“Dimension Data has been steadfast in their support of professional golf for two decades and we are incredibly grateful that they have extended their commitment to junior golf development.”

Naidoo, who won the Nomads SA Boys U-17 and U-19 Stroke Play titles, hopes to make the first Dimension Data Junior Open a truly memorable event.

“I am definitely targeting a victory in the first Dimension Data Junior Open this week, but it will not be an easy task to win at Fancourt,” Naidoo said.

“The courses are breathtakingly beautiful, but their beauty conceals a multitude of challenges that tests every aspect of the game. To conquer Fancourt in such a strong field would rank right up there with my victories in the SA Boys events.”

The field play the Outeniqua course today, The Links on Thursday and the Montagu course in Friday’s final round.

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

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