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SA juniors named for Italian Championship

15 Jul 2013

Jovan Rebula will be competing in the seventh Italian International Under-16 Championship in August alongside Kyle McClatchie, Rosswell Sinclair and Keegan de Lange; credit Deon Smit.

Four of South Africa’s top junior golfers will represent the country at the seventh Italian International Under-16 Championship at Golf Club Biella at the end of August.

The South African Golf Assocation (SAGA) named recent Nomads SA Boys U-17 champion Jovan Rebula from Southern Cape, as well as Ekurhuleni’s Kyle McClatchie and Keegan de Lange and Rosswell Sinclair from Gauteng North to fly the country’s flag at the 72-hole international stroke play championship from 27- 29 August.

SAGA Junior Co-ordinator Eden Thompson will accompany the quartet, who will participate in both the individual 72-hole competition and the 36-hole Nation’s Trophy team event, played over the first two rounds of the championship.

In addition to winning the Nomads SA Boys U-17 Championship in June, Rebula also lifted the Nomads North & South Championship title in March and tied for second at the Nomads National Order of Merit (NNoM) event at Mowbray.

The George golfer tops the current SA U-17 Order of Merit, while De Lange ranks fourth, McClatchie fifth and Sinclair seventh.

McClatchie finished second at the Nomads SA Boys U-19 Stroke Play and made the semi-final in the Match Play. The Ekurhuleni youngster also claimed a top 10 in the NNoM at Mowbray and took third at the Nomads SA Boys U-17 Championship.

De Lange won the NNoM event in Kempton Park in Match, tied for sixth at the Nomads North and South Championship and claimed third at the recent NNoM event at Fancourt, while Sinclair tied for third at the Dr Nam National Order of Merit event at Pollak Park and claimed two more top 10 finishes in the North and South Championship and the SA Boys U-19 Stroke Play.

SAGA president Andre Pieterse said the tournament provides a fantastic international platform for the juniors to gain experience.

“The Italian International Under-16 Championship counts towards the R&A World Amateur Rankings and draws the top amateurs from nearly 20 countries,” Pieterse said.

“South Africa has participated in the championship since its inception in 2007 and our juniors have always enjoyed the opportunity to test themselves against top juniors from around the world.”

In 2011, Gauteng North junior Tristen Strydom shared second place, Dylan Raubenheimer from the Western Province tied for fourth and Ian Snyman, also Western Province posted a top 20 finish. The team also did very well in the 36-hole to finish third behind winners Italy and second-placed Denmark.

“Last year, Jason Froneman from Ekurhuleni also claimed a top 20 finish in the individual event,” Pieterse said. “The result really boosted his confidence and he went on to win the Glacier Junior Series Final last year. This year, Jason captured his first Open Amateur title at the Free State & Northern Cape Open and was selected to represent South Africa in two international events.”

Froneman competed in Italy alongside two other top SA juniors, Thriston Lawrence and Triston Strydom. The three players drew on their international experience to successfully claim South Africa’s 15th successive title at the All-Africa Junior Golf Challenge in May alongside James du Preez and again, when they represented South Africa at the Junior Golf World Cup in Japan last month.

“Experience at international level is absolutely invaluable and we are delighted to give the four juniors the chance to compete in this prestigious event,” Pieterse said.

The sixth Italian International Under-16 Championship drew 132 top junior golfers from 18 countries including Denmark, the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Norway, Great Britain, France, Finland, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, Slovenia, Ireland, Slovakia and Turkey.
Thompson said the juniors are looking forward to the challenge.

“We welcome any opportunity for our juniors to challenge on international level,” Thompson said. “Competitive experience is crucial for their development and the chance to go up against the best juniors in Europe will be a fantastic experience for them.

“To play in this championship is a wonderful opportunity for the juniors to represent South Africa at Under-16 level, not only as individuals but also a team. They are all very excited about the challenge ahead and we look forward to see how they measure up against the top players from Europe.”

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