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Yushira reports on US Junior Masters

Yushira Budhram finished in fifth position in the US Junior Masters in December and sent WGSA the following report on the event.

Ponte Vedra Resort is magnificent. It is real 5-star golf experience with a glamorous hotel to match. The resort has two courses and the hotel extends from the golf course to the magnificent beach across the road (unfortunately I didn’t it enter as it was way too cold).

I had managed to have two (much needed) practice rounds on the Ocean Course at Ponte Vedra, Jacksonville. The Ocean Course at Ponte Vedra can be best described as a great test of your course management skills. The fairways are wide and greens are huge (like anything American) but what made the course extremely tricky was around and on the greens. They are extremely slopey and one of the quickest I have ever competed on. I am sure by the final round they were running at around 13 on the stimp (at least). Furthermore, the pin positions were indescribably tough! For instance, the 6th hole (par 5 – the green is about 40m from the front to the back ) on the first round the pin was placed not more than two meters (on the back of the green) away from the two meter ninety degree drop into a lake!

There were many intimidating pin positions which left many nerve-testing putts. The Ocean course was in great condition and posted a great challenge for all players.

As we experienced in Germany, everybody from the organisers to the players were extremely friendly and hospitable.

At the opening ceremony we were welcomed by the tournament director, Michael Aarts and title sponsor, Tom Burnett. And were fortunate enough to have a renowned PGA tour professional and the course designer talk to us about course management.

During the tournament we had complimentary use of a physiotherapist, sports psychologist, PGA Professionals (Tom Burnett and his senior instructor, Justin R.), personal fitness trainers and one of the top club fitters in the USA.

After the opening round we were treated to a visit at the World Golf Hall of Fame. It was a really rewarding experience, it is not just a venue but an experience all in itself. It was really interesting to see the evolution of the game as well as the past and present legends. It gave me a lot more appreciation for what the game has become and for all who have contributed.

I experienced many highs and lows during my rounds at the USJM. After posting two fairly competent rounds of 78 and 76, I approached the last round with a quite sense of confidence and focus. My first 5 holes of my third round was the highlight of the tournament for me. I managed to make 4 birdies in the first 5 holes. I managed to hold it together as I was 3 under thru 12 but the only way I can describe the last 6 was my body was not responding to my brain! I managed to finish fifth but if I had shot (a very possible) 4-under apposed to me 3-over I would have won.

All-in-All I really enjoyed my experience at the USJM! And really hope that other South Africans will also have the privilege to make the journey and experience the USJM.

Once again thank you for this opportunity and I am looking forward to the upcoming season.

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