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Filippi flourishes at Fancourt

01 Jul 2015

Western Province’s Luca Filippi leads the first round of the Dimension Data Junior Open at Fancourt Country Club; credit Warren Blunt.

Milnerton golfer Luca Filippi fired a five-under-par 67 at the Outeniqua course to take the first round lead in the Dimension Data Junior Open at Fancourt Country Club on Wednesday.

The 16-year-old Province junior took advantage of ideal scoring weather, carding seven birdies to edge one stroke clear of Southern Cape’s Franklin Manchest, Eric Wowor from Central Gauteng and Gauteng North’s Keegan McLachlan.

Fellow Province junior Noel Anderson finished a further stroke back.

Filippi made significant strides on the junior, open and international circuits in the last two years and transitioned comfortably from the number one spot in the U-15 rankings to the top spot on the U-17 Order of Merit.

The Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation (EEFF) golfer kicked off the season with a tie for second in the Nomads National Order of Merit at Durban Country Club. He followed with an eighth place finish in the Curro SA Juniors International and tied for 11 at the Nomads SA Boys U-19 Stroke Play Championship in April.

He also contended on the Open Amateur circuit, claiming joint fifth in the Cape Province Amateur Open and 10th in the Western Province Amateur Stroke Play Championship.

“I have done a lot of hard work with my coach, Grant Hepburn, to get my game to this level and it’s really nice to start seeing some results,” said Filippi, who had a rebuild his swing after a massive growth spurt.

“Through all the tough times, the EEFF were amazing and it’s great to show them that their loyalty and support was worth it.

“The course and the weather was just perfect and a low number was definitely on the cards. I hit my irons really well and all my birdie putts were between five and seven feet. I hit the wrong shot at the sixth, missed the green and paid the price and I three-putted the 12th for another bogey, but overall, my game was solid.

“I have to thank Fancourt for giving us a course in such fantastic conditions. The greens are rolling really well, and that always makes it a little easier to get the ball to the hole.”

Fellow EEFF member Jovan Rebula made a seven at the par-five 18th, but the Southern Cape golfer salvaged his round with a string of four successive birdies after the turn.

He closed with a 70 to join Kyle Barker and Haydn Driver from Central Gauteng in sixth place.

Matt Saulez from KwaZulu-Natal is also within striking distance just two days after he claimed the Nomads National Order of Merit Coastal at St Francis Links.

The 18-year-old Gowrie Farm junior mixed five birdies with four bogeys for a 71 and a share of ninth with Tristan Brice from Central Gauteng.

The calm conditions also served up a nice mix of eagles and a hole-in-one.

Leander Snyman from Free State holed out at the par-three seventh, Martin Vorster from the Louis Oosthuizen Academy in Mossel Bay made two at the par-four 10th, fellow Southern Cape golfer Hans Jurie Human eagled the par-five eighth and Ryan Liebenberg from Central Gauteng got his round going with a two at the par-four first.

With one of the Gary Player-designed course ticked, the 78-man field will be counting on more warm weather when they tackle the challenging Links on Thursday.

The juniors play the Montagu course in Friday’s final round.

67 Luca Filippi
68 Keegan Mclachlan; Franklin Manchest; Eric Wowor
69 Noel Anderson
70 Kyle Barker; Haydn Driver; Jovan Rebula
71 Martin Vorster; Garrick Higgo; Tristan Brice; Matt Saulez; Kyle Klopper

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.


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