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SA Juniors seek double glory

27 May 2013

The 2013 All=Africa Junior Golf Challenge champions are off to Japan this June to compete in the 21st Toyota World Junior Golf Team Championship; credit Dale Boyce

Four of South Africa’s top juniors are off to Japan this June to fly the country’s flag at the 21st Toyota World Junior Golf Team Championship at the Inshino Course at Tokyo’s Chukyo Country Club.

The World Junior Golf Team Championship is the world’s only junior golf championship in which national team winners from regional qualifiers held across six continents compete for a world championship trophy.

Just a month ago, Thriston Lawrence, James du Preez, Jason Froneman and Tristen Strydom combined to claim the country’s 15th consecutive victory in the 2013 All-Africa Junior Golf Challenge at Le Touessrok in Mauritius.

This triumph qualified South Africa for the prestigious international team championship and now, the All-Africa Junior champions are hoping to emulate South Africa’s Major champions, Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen, members of the SA team that claimed the country’s only victory in 2001.

South Africa finished second in 2000, but the best finish recorded since that lone victory, was fifth in 2008.

Tuksgolf Club and Academies head coach and technical director Llewellyn van Leeuwen, who has been travelling with the South African teams this year and accompanied the team to Mauritius, will also escort the team to Japan in his capacity as coach and manager.

Lawrence currently leads the South African Golf Association’s Junior Order of Merit and the 16-year-old Mpumalanga golfer also vaulted inside the top 10 of the current Open Amateur rankings after his Sanlam SA Amateur Championship triumph in April.

Froneman won the Free State and Northern Cape Open earlier this year and is ranked fourth, with Strydom in ninth place after a clutch of top 10 finishes. Du Preez, who missed a big part of the season due to injury, has been making a strong comeback since his tie for sixth at the SA Boys U-19 Stroke Play and has risen to 30th in the rankings.

“We invested a lot of time in this quartet and we believe we are sending an experienced team to Japan,” said SAGA president Andre Pieterse. “This team has practiced, played and travelled together and have formed a strong bond. They have put in a lot of time with Llewellyn and we are confident that they will give a good account of themselves in Japan.”

The field for this year is expected to draw the same entries as last year, which featured 13 nations that included the champions Australia, the host nation Japan, runners-up Canada, as well as South Africa, the United States, Thailand, Mexico, Spain, Argentina, Chinese Taipei, Austria, China and Venezuela

Strydom, Lawrence and Du Preez have earned a reputation as long hitters and will have the added incentive at the curtain-raiser for the 72-hole event. Last year South Africa’s number two ranked golfer, Zander Lombard, won the Long Drive competition when he drove it 293m yards to edge out Manual Torres from Venezuela by just over six meters for victory.

SA JUNIOR TEAM

Thriston Lawrence (Age 16; Nelspruit Golf Club, Mpumalanga)

James du Preez (Age 17; Pretoria Country Club, Gauteng North)

Jason Froneman (Age 17; Kempton Park Golf Club, Ekurhuleni)

Tristen Strydom (Age 16; Pretoria Country Club, Gauteng North)

Introducing GolfRSA

The South African Golf Association and Womens Golf South Africa have joined forces to form GolfRSA, a new unified company that will professionally administer the commercial interests and golf operations of amateur golf in South Africa.

Look out for the new GolfRSA website coming soon.

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