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SA Juniors encouraged by international experience

24 Jun 2017

Cole Stevens, Kaiyuree Moodley, Carl Mwale and Casandra Hall during the Ciputra Jakarta World Junior Golf Championship in Indonesia; credit Sarah Braude / GolfRSA.

Every experience - great or challenging - is priceless. That is the message from the South African junior quartet who competed in the Ciputra Jakarta World Junior Golf Championship in Indonesia in June.

The quartet joined in a record field of 150 competitors from 18 countries in the 11th edition of this global showpiece that was played from 6 to 9 June at the Damai Indah Golf in Jakarta.

Casandra Hall and GolfRSA Elite Squad player Kaiyuree Moodley competed in the Girls A-Division for ages 15-18, while South African Golf Development Board duo Carl Mwale and Cole Stevens from Gauteng joined the Boys A-Division challenge for ages 15-18.

“It was absolutely roasting when we arrived in Jakarta and the humidity was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced,” said Ekurhuleni matriculant Hall, who tied for 10th.

“Cole played last year and said the set-up of the Pantai Indah Kapuk Course was much tougher than the previous year, but you could also tell from the scores, which were higher than last year. The course was very challenging, whether the wind was blowing or not.

“I shot 73 in the first round, but I was disappointed to shoot 80 in the second round. It felt like I was about a million over par starting the last round, and I was pleased to finish strong with a 75 to secure a top 10 finish.

“I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity by GolfRSA and Womens Golf South Africa to travel to Indonesia. It was fantastic to experience a tournament of this stature. The event was incredibly well organised and The Indonesian people made us feel really, really welcome. I enjoyed competing against so many international competitors and I felt really proud representing South Africa among so many top juniors in such a prestigious event.”

Mwale, who finished fifth in the Albatross International Golf Championship India last year, was equally thrilled to walk away with a tie for 10th after four gruelling rounds.

“The conditions was very different to what I experienced in India, where it was a lot cooler,” he said. “We really felt the heat and humidity here in Indonesia and it definitely impacted on our overall performance, especially given the tough set-up.

“The course was long and very challenging and I am so glad I was given the opportunity to test myself under these conditions and against so many top juniors from around the world. The highlight this year was meeting players from Bangladesh and Malaysia. I’d never met people from those two countries, and it was a lot of fun chatting to them and learning more about their culture.”

Reigning Nomads SA Girls Rose Bowl champion Moodley finished 13th overall.

“The week definitely highlighted aspects of my game that needs some attention, but overall I had a fantastic time,” said Moodley. “I was a little ill when we arrived and didn’t have the best start to the tournament, so it was great to start birdie-birdie in the final round. I let it slip a little towards the end, but I closed with a 78, which was a really good score on the last day and lifted me into the top 15.

“The high point for me was to experience the culture of the Indonesian people and to compete at this amazing golf course. I have competed internationally before, but this time I made a lot of friends and I look forward to keeping in touch and meeting up with them again in the future.”

Stevens, who finished in the top five last year playing in the 13-14 age category, was disappointed to tie for 21st on his return trip to Jakarta, but the Parkview junior said the overall experience was even better the second time around.

“Coming back, I knew what to expect and that always helps you to settle in quicker,” he said.

“The set-up this year was much tougher and the conditions were brutal. The course played a lot longer and it was extremely hot and humid. But the course was in really good condition and the greens were fantastic.

“I’m struggling with my short game at the moment, so I found it very hard to up-and-down around the greens, but my caddie was top notch and helped me to keep improving. The international players I played with showed me that my game might be good enough to challenge at home, but I need to work a lot harder to represent my country with distinction.

“For me the highlight was meeting and playing against the international players and seeing that I need to work a lot harder to compete at a higher level. My goal for next year is to come back to Indonesia and winning this division and I’m going to be working hard to be selected again.”

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of GolfRSA, a SAGA and WGSA Not-For-Profit company.

 

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