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SA team makes solid start in All-Africa title defence

02 Apr 2012

Dylan Raubenheimer (Credit Roger Sedres)

The South African U-19 Junior Team got their title defence underway at the All-Africa Junior Golf Championship with a solid start on Monday.

Western Province amateur Ian Snyman opened with a two-under-par 69 at the Gaborone Golf Club to share the low round of the day with Zimbabwe’s Brett Krogg while Dylan Raubenheimer from the Western Province carded a 74.

The country’s number three ranked amateur, Zander Lombard from Gauteng North, and Ekurhuleni’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout both signed for 75s.

With the best three scores to count, the South African team shares the top spot with Zimbabwe on 218. The leaders are seven shots clear of their nearest challenger, Namibia, in third on 225.

South African Golf Association president, Colin Burger, said the country’s top junior golfers handled the rather tough conditions very well.

“The weather was pretty overcast and conditions were chilly throughout the round,” he said. “The fairways and greens were reasonable, but the rough is very, very tough. It was almost impossible to find a ball that leaked into to rough and that put extra pressure on the boys in terms of course management.

“But I think they handled themselves very well, and I’m sure the scores will improve as they start getting the know the course.”

In addition to South Africa, Zimbabwe and the hosts Botswana, the prestigious tournament has also drawn entries from Kenya, Swaziland, Uganda, Namibia, Zambia, Ivory Coast and Mauritius.

Last year Bezuidenhout was part of the victorious South African side who claimed a 16-shot landslide victory against Namibia and earned the right to tee it up at the World Junior Golf Championships in Japan.

Although Snyman, Lombard and Raubenheimer are making their debut in this year’s All-Africa Junior Golf Championship, the trio did combine for a third place finish at the Nation’s Trophy during the fifth Italian Individual U-16 Championship at the Golf Club Biella in Italy last September.

“The team are quite determined to emulate the 2011 side,” said Burger. “They are all talented players and very tenacious. I won’t be surprised if they come out fighting in the second round; although they are happy to be in the lead, they don’t like the fact that they are sharing the top spot.”

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