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Sweden’s Ronneblad wins KeNako SA World Juniors

20 Mar 2012

Lara Weinstein of South Africa and Hannes Ronneblad of Sweden KeNako SA World Juniors Champions 2012

In the Boys Division, Hannes Ronneblad of Sweden won the KeNako SA World Juniors tournament played at the Kingswood Golf Estate in George by a single shot from Zander Lombard of South Africa. Ronneblad played steady golf over the 3 days, shooting rounds of 70,70 and 71 for his 5 under par total. The Kingswood Golf Estate was a tough test for the juniors, with the course yardage stretched to the limit and the greens rolling beautifully but quickly. Some windy conditions made the Kingswood layout even more challenging.

Ronneblad started the final round a shot behind South Africa’s Zander Lombard, with Tobias Tree of England a further shot back. Tree played good golf but his putting stroke deserted him and he fell off the pace, leaving Ronneblad and Lombard to fight for the title. Ronneblad looked to have blown his chances when he 3 putted the 16th green. He had hit an exquisite chip from a downhill lie behind the green to just 3 feet from the hole but then missed the side-hill putt and missed the comeback putt as well. This meant that he fell a shot behind Lombard, who had birdied the 16th hole for a 2 shot swing. Ronneblad then showed excellent mental strength by birdieing the 17th hole to tie Lombard. Ronneblad had driven his ball at the short 17th hole, a driveable par 4 when the wind is helping, into a deep swale in front of the green and was faced with a very tricky up-hill pitch to a front pin position, which he played beautifully to just 3 feet from the hole. Lombard had driven his ball short of the green to the right on a bank in the short rough and was unable to stop his pitch shot running across the green. Both boys hit the 18th green in 2 shots but Lombard had to putt up and over a ridge and hit his first putt 15 foot past the hole and failed to convert the return putt, leaving Ronneblad to two putt for par and the win.

Zander Gous of South Africa finished very strongly with a 68 to follow his second round 69 and finish 3rd at one under par 215. Jovan Rebula of Serbia played superb golf after being 8 over after 27 holes, ending the tournament at 2 over par and tied 4th with Glen James de Waal of Namibia and Tobias Tree of England.

Ronneblad had taken the lead early in the final round and held a 3 stroke lead after 12 holes before Lombard sunk a monster birdie putt at 13 to be just 2 shots behind. Ronneblad then 3 putted the short 15th to hold a slender one stroke advantage and after a brilliant chip from a downhill lie behind the 16th green inexplicitly missed his short birdie putt and then the return putt to fall one behind.

In the Girls Division Lara Weinstein of South Africa played superb golf, shooting a final round 4 under par 68 to win by 8 shots from Olivia le Roux, also of South Africa. Lara totally dominated the Girls Division and deservedly took the Championship. The Girls Division did not have as many international entries as the Boys Division which helped the South African girls to dominate.

Besides the Individual Trophy, countries also compete in teams of 2 for the Team Trophy. The Boys Team Trophy was won by Sweden (Hannes Ronneblad and Hampus Bergman), with South Africa (Zander Lombard and Haydn Porteous) finishing second. In the Girls Division South Africa (Lara Weinstein and Bianca Theron) were the winners with South Korea (Carrie Park and Ji Sun Kang) finishing second.

A total 118 players entered the KeNako SA World Juniors tournament, which included 84 boys and 34 girls. This is the second year that the event has been held and it is an event that is set to become a high profile tournament on the Junior Golf calendar, not just in South Africa but on the junior world circuit. The junior players are treated as they would be at a major international event – they are given a taste of what it will be like to play in a prestigious event on one of the major tours of the world.

A Golf Village was set up at the hotel and the week started with an Am-Am on Sunday, allowing one of the world junior players to play with 3 executive guests. On Monday night the tournament officially commenced with an Opening Banquet dinner that was attended by various VIP guests, the players, travelling parents, management and coaches. On the Tuesday night the players were treated to an African experience that included traditional South African food and an opportunity to play African drums. Over 100 drums were set out for the players, who were guided and taught the art of drumming by some drumming experts. The event finished with the Prize Giving dinner and an after golf party set up for the players.

This is an exciting event for South Africa, with the 2012 tournament attracting players from 16 different countries of the world.

KeNako SA World Juniors

Leading Boys Scores
211 Hannes Ronneblad (Sweden)
212 Zander Lombard (SA)
215 Zander Gous (SA)
218 Jovan Rebula (Serbia), Glen James de Waal (Namibia), Tobias Tree (England)
220 Marcus Gran (Sweden), Hampus Bergman (Sweden), Tobias Edén (Sweden), James Hart du Preez (SA)
221 Samuel Schiff (Switzerland), Jan Szmidt (Poland), Thriston Lawrence (SA)
222 Tristen Strydom (SA), Haydn Porteous (SA)
223 Jack Duthie (SA), Philip Kruse (SA)
224 Max Orrin (England), Matthew Sheehan (England), Hando Brophy (SA)

Leading Girls Scores (SA unless stated)
220 Lara Weinstein
228 Olivia le Roux
229 Kelly Erasmus
230 Carrie Park (South Korea), Cara Gorlei
232 Ji Sun Kang (South Korea)
234 Mae Cornforth
236 Bianca Theron, Talia Nel

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