Nash de Klerk from Ekurhuleni claimed an emphatic 10 stroke victory in the Sun City SA Under-15 Challenge and Michael Ferreira from Gauteng North lifted the Under-13 title at the home of the Nedbank Golf Challenge on Thursday.
Sun City SA Under-15 Challenge
Just two weeks ago, Nash de Klerk celebrated a breakthrough on the national circuit when he won the Dimension Data Junior Open Under-15 Challenge on the Sunshine Tour Junior Series.
Buoyed by his winning performance at Fancourt, the 13-year-old opened with a blistering five-under-par 67 at the Gary Player Country Club to open up a yawning seven shot lead over Herman du Plessis from Central Gauteng and Southern Cape’s CJ van Wyk.
He started the final round par-birdie and negated a lone bogey at third with a birdie at the fourth and added another at the eighth to move to seven under. He mixed a birdie the par five 14th with eight pars for a final round 69 and seal victory on 10 under 206.
“It was awesome to play the Gary Player Country Club, although we didn’t play off the back tees and the rough wasn’t as tough as during the Nedbank Golf Challenge,” said De Klerk.
“The course was in fantastic condition. I putted well in the first round and most of my birdies were inside 10 feet. The greens roll so true, you can put a confident stroke on the ball and trust that the putts will drop.
“In the first round, I three-putted on 10. I was quite far from the hole for my first putt and put too much pace on the putt. It ran seven feet past the hole and I missed the return. The other bogey came after I leaked my tee shot into the bush and had to declare a lost ball.
“You can’t help but think about shots you’ve seen the pros play in the Nedbank Golf Challenge. My second shot at the ninth landed exactly where Martin Kaymer was one year and he splashed it in the water, but I hit my third 10 feet from the hole.
“The course was in fantastic condition and it was a huge privilege to play here, even if we played off a mix of ladies and club tees. It’s a great challenge and I am stoked to be a winner here at Sun City.”
Free State junior Remon Rabie followed a first round 77 with a 69 to vault to second on 146, while Du Plessis and Van Wyk shared third on 151 after posting rounds of 77.
Sun City Under-13 Challenge
An opening two under 70 saw Michael Ferreira carry a five shot lead over 2017 Gowrie U-15 Challenge champion Amilkar Bhana into the final round. The 12-year-old two-time from Woodhill Country Club Junior club champion kept the chasing pack at bay with a final round 74 to celebrate a three shot victory on even-par 144.
“I won a SA Kids tournament at Zwartkop recently and that gave me some confidence for City. It’s a challenging course. If you stay in the fairways and putt well, you can score, but anything off the fairways is punished.
“I drove the ball well, but I got a real scare at the eighth on day one. I hit my tee shot right and I didn’t think we would find the ball. When we did find it, all I could do was punch out to the fairway .I got it on the green with my third, but just missed the putt to save par.”
Ferreira only had the one bogey in round one, but his final round scorecard had a few more.
“I had soft bogeys at one and seven, but I must be honest, I was quite tired near the end and I lost some focus. At the eighth, I hit it in the hazard and my par-putt lipped out. I hit my tee shot into the thick stuff on nine and when I tried to punch out, my club got stuck. I took a pitching wedge and got the ball in the fairway, but made bogey from there.
“I’m really, really happy with this result and overall how I played the Gary Player course. I struck the ball well and didn’t miss many fairways and I putted really well.”
Bhana closed with a 72 to finish in second and Matthew Lotz from Western Province took third on 152 with rounds of 78 and 74. Ockert Brits edged out fellow North West junior Rorisang Nkosi for fourth.
U-15 Challenge Result (top 10)
136 Nash de Klerk 67 69
146 Remon Rabie 77 69
151 Herman du Plessis 74 77; C.J van Wyk 74 77
152 Christiaan Maas 76 76
153 Malan Potgieter 77 76; John-William Blomerus 75 78
154 Lyle Roche Pedro 80 74; Christopher Bagnall 75 79
155 Joshua Koekemoer 78 77; Ruan De Villiers 75 80
U-13 Challenge Result (top 10)
144 Michael Ferreira 70 74
147 Amilkar Bhana 75 72
152 Matthew Lotz 78 74
155 Ockert Brits 78 77
156 Rorisang Nkosi 82 74
158 Hunter Walker 80 78
159 Phil Snyman 81 78
163 Caden Chuang 83 80
164 Jordan Wessels 84 80; Nicholas Lewis 79 85