Kathu Juniors shine at Sishen Open
Northern Cape juniors, Lyle Pedro and Johan Kruger, made the most of a unique opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the country’s up-and-coming stars in the IGT Tour’s recent Sishen Open.
Both Kathu players were chosen to represent Free State and Northern Cape at national level this year and were nominated by Sishen Golf Club to participate in the Betterball team competition.
“The IGT Tour is first and foremost a development Tour and it was great to give these two young players a glimpse of what their futures could be like,” said IGT Tour commissioner Cois du Plooy.
“We let them play with other amateurs in the team event that ran concurrently with first two rounds of the 54-hole stroke play championship”.
“They embraced the opportunity and we were really impressed by their enthusiasm and their conduct on the golf course. We also let them play the final round off junior tees behind the field.”
Sunshine Tour professional Tyron Roelofsz partnered 11-year-old Pedro, while IGT Tour regular Burger Heckroodt played with 10-year-old Kruger in the team competition.
“Their excitement was really infectious,” said Roelofsz. “They were out there on the driving range and putting green long before anyone else and they conducted themselves very well on the golf course”.
“They asked questions and it was great to see how they absorbed the advice we gave them. It was a lot of fun to play with the two of them. Pedro plays off a 12 handicap and he shot 71 in the first round. I signed for a 77, so he upstaged me completely. That was a little humbling.”
Pedro loved the scrambled drive format and said it gave them the chance to emulate the pros.
“We could hit from their drives, so we tried to shape and draw the ball like they do,” Pedro said.
“We still have a lot to learn, but it was really interesting to see how they approach the course.
“My goal was to learn as much as I could, so I never expected us to finish third in the team competition; that was a real bonus. These guys hit some amazing shots and Johan and I learned a lot from playing with them.”
Kruger was very pleased with Burger’s advice to widen his stance in the bunker.
“I got a lot more control of my bunker shot when I widened the gap between my feet,” he said.
“Lyle and I both need to learn more Rules of Golf and we have to practice our short game more. The pros score a lot of birdies with chipping and putting. It was one of the best experiences of my life.”
Centurion golfer Jacques Kruyswijk was in imperious form as he closed out his sixth IGT Tour victory with a wire-to-wire performance in the Wanna Be A Champion Academy Classic at Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate. The 22-year-old navigated the Jack Nicklaus-designed Masai Mara course with rounds of 67, 66 and 72 to claim an impressive five-stroke victory on 11-under-par 205.
Amateur Joubert van Eeden reeled in three-time winner Bryandrew Roelofsz in the final round of the Battle of the Giants to clinch his maiden IGT Tour victory at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington. The 24-year-old Durbanville golfer lagged four strokes off the pace at the start of the final round, but edged out Roelofsz by one stroke with a four under 68 in the final round at the East Course.
Young Turk Christiaan Bezuidenhout outclassed Sunshine Tour veterans Doug McGuigan and Theunis Spangenberg in the final round of the Sishen Open to close out a four-stroke victory on 12-under-par 204. The victory marks a return to the winner’s circle on the country’s premier development Tour for the Wanna Be A Champion Academy player, who claimed his maiden pro title in the Centurion Academy Classic in just his second start in the paid ranks in March.
Matthew Kent wiped out a three stroke deficit with a final round 68 to lift the Mowbray Classic title on the IGT Cape Tour. The country’s former number one ranked amateur was absolutely thrilled with his first pro victory. “This is the first step in the right direction,” said the 28-year-old Clovelly golfer. “It’s been 10 years in the making, but I finally have the gorilla off my back and I can’t wait to win again.”
KZN WINTER SWING KLOOF
Former professional turned baker Steven van Heerden drove six hours from Swaziland and produced the goods to claim the KZN Winter Swing at Kloof Country Club by one stroke. The 28-year-old fired a four-under-par 68 that was good enough to edge out Jared Harvey by one stroke.
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