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Froneman thrilled with Italian Top 20

04 Sep 2012

Jason Froneman flew the South African flag with a top 20 finish at the sixth Italian International Under-16 Championships.

Midrand golfer Jason Froneman produced an impressive performance at the Golf Club Biella in Italy to claim a top 20 spot in the sixth Italian International Under-16 Championship last week.

After opening with a 77, Froneman improved with a second round 72 that saw him tie for fifth among the frontrunners. The 16-year-old Olive Lee High School student added 78s in the third and fourth rounds to finish the championship tied for 15th on a total score of 305.

He was 14 shots behind Italy’s Guido Migliozzi, who not only won the Individual title, but was the only player to finish the tournament under par.

The Italian carded rounds of 76-74-69-72 for a winning score of one-under-par 291 and beat Englishman Jack Hermeston by five shots. First round leader Michele Ortolani from Italy took third place.

Froneman was one of four leading juniors selected by the South African Golf Union (SAGA) to represent South Africa in Italy, but the only one to make the 36-hole cut, which was set at 10-over-par 156.

Reigning SA Boys Match Play champion, Thriston Lawrence from Mpumalanga, missed by two shots after rounds of 82 and 76, while Tristen Strydom from Gauteng North, the reigning SA Boys Stroke Play champion tied for 60th with David Meyers from Central Gauteng. Strydom carded rounds of  83-76 while Meyers posted and 80 and79.

The only other local player to survive the cut was Paul Boshoff from Gauteng North, who finished in 39th place after rounds of 79-76-83-78.

The Golf Club Biella in the Valcarozza region, known locally as “La Betulle”, provided a tough challenge for the field of 132 players, representing 19 countries worldwide.

Froneman said it was an amazing experience to tee it up in an event of this calibre.

“This tournament represented an incredible opportunity for us to test ourselves against the top juniors in the world,” the Kempton Park golfer said.

“I really enjoyed spending time with the other team members and getting to know them. And I have to thank the SAGA’s second vice president, Gerhard Conradie, who travelled with us and gave us a lot of inspiration.”

The teenager said the course, which measured 6,497 meters, presented a stern test, especially in navigating the bunkers and hazards.

“The course winds through dense woods and you really had to play for position,” he explained. “If you missed the fairways or hit it on the wrong side of a green, you paid the price.  Unfortunately my nerves got to me a little in the final round, but I guess that’s to be expected because we don’t often play in Europe and against the best juniors in world. But the experience of playing in a tournament of that stature was invaluable and I’m sure I will be able to draw on the experience in the future.”

The Italians also took the honours in The Nations Trophy, a team competition played concurrently with the 72-hole international stroke play championship. They hosts edge out the Czech Republic by one shot for victory with England, Norway and Switzerland sharing third spot. The South Africa four-man team combined for a 304 team total to finish in ninth position.

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