Weber goes wire-to-wire in Nomads SA U-15

2023 Nomads SA U-15 Championship winner Ben Weber at Robertson Golf Club

10 January 2023 – East London Golf Club’s Ben Weber underlined his undoubted potential by winning the season-opening Nomads SA U-15 Championship at Robertson Golf Club.

The 13-year-old led from start to finish in his three-shot victory, carding rounds of 69, 68 and 72 for a 54-hole total of seven under par.

It was Weber’s third SA tournament victory after winning the Sun City U-15 Challenge and Dimension Data U15 Junior Open in 2022, but this triumph will go down as his best yet against a top-class field and some testing weather conditions in the 54-hole tournament.

The Border junior finished the windy opening day tied for lead with North West’s Minjun Heo and Dewan de Bruin, and went four deep in the rain on the second day to start the final round with a three-stroke lead over both Craig Cilliers of Silver Lakes and Dewan de Bruin of Fancourt.

“I didn’t make the greatest start,” Weber said. “I dropped four shots in the first eight holes, but I just stayed patient and kept my head in the game.”

The Selborne Primary star went on a birdie run from the ninth, firing five birdies in the next six holes, and the streak put him firmly back in the lead.

Although he bogeyed the 17th, he had already done enough to clinch the impressive win.

“I made it hard for myself in the morning, but through the turn it all came together. The putter was very cold at the start of the round, but I just tried to keep hitting greens, and eventually, the putts started falling. I just started enjoying it a bit more,” Weber said.

Minjun Heo of Pecanwood finish second on four-under and De Bruin managed to hang on to third, despite shooting a three-over 75 in the final round.

In addition to winning two individual titles in 2022, the Selborne Primary school learner also celebrated success with team-mates Blake Horsely, Thomas Lyon and brother Jake Weber in the Ernie Els Primary School Championship at Oubaai Golf Club in August.

He made his debut in the SA Premier Inter-Provincial Tournament at Koro Creek Golf & Wildlife Estate, where he acquitted himself well by earning 6 points for Border. And in December, he accumulated 7 points for his province to help Border seal a third-place finish in the SA U-19 Inter-Provincial at Mbombela Golf Club – all while also fitting in two cricket tours for his school.

Nomads Boland Vice-Captain Theo Swart with SA U-15 champion Ben Weber and Girls Competition winner Kaylee Webster at Robertson Golf Club

The win in Robertson was undoubtedly the biggest in his short career, and Weber, ranked No 1 on the GolfRSA U-15 Rankings, hopes to push his game even further this year.

“I hope to play in more of the open events around the country this year to gain experience competing against the more experienced players. It would be great to improve my ranking and to build my game,” said Weber.

Meanwhile Waterkloof Golf Club’s Kaylee Webster birdied the par-five closing hole to seal a three-shot triumph in the Girls Competition.

Webster led after a first-round level par 72, but the Gauteng North junior relinquished the lead to Casey Twidale after battled to a 78 in the wet conditions on the second day.

Starting the final round three shots behind, Webster shortened the gap with an opening birdie and another gain at the sixth hole. The 14-year-old regained pole position with a final round 73 as Twidale from Randpark closed with a round of 78.

“I’m absolutely thrilled with the way I hung in there, and just stayed patient,” said Webster. “Conditions were tough at the start of the tournament. We had a lot of wind on the first day, and rain in the second round. Luckily my putter was on fire this week and my mental game was also strong. That ultimately got me the win.”

Webster and younger sister Maegan both entered the season-opener.

“This tournament is so much fun, and I was so glad that my parents decided to enter both of us this year. The views on the course here in Robertson was amazing and we both enjoyed it so much. It’s such a nice way to kick off the season, and now we get to enjoy a short holiday in Cape Town before school starts up again,” Webster said.

Twidale, with rounds of 73, 75 and 78, finished second, and Royal Cape’s Kaitlyn van de Vyfer finished in third.