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SA Juniors primed for Fellowship Cup

13 Aug 2017

Felllowship Cup GolfRSA Junior Team; credit GolfRSA

New cap Wilco Nienaber validated his ticket on the GolfRSA Junior Team for the upcoming Fellowship Cup against India when he racked up his eighth victory this season in the Sun International Africa Junior Open on Sunday.

“Now it’s all systems go for the Fellowship Cup,” the 17-year-old, who fired a five-under-par 67 in the final round to sweep to victory at the Fish River Sun Resort.

Nienaber went head-to-head with team-mate Christo Lamprecht, who also hit some great form in the final round and produced five birdies for a joint third place finish in the third Sunshine Tour Junior Series event.

“Christo and I can’t wait to get to Leopard Creek now,” said Nienaber. “It’s the kind of course you can only take on if your game is on song, so heading into the Fellowship Cup with good form is really comforting for both of us.”

Nienaber and the reigning Sanlam SA Amateur champion Lamprecht – respectively second and third on the latest SA Junior U-19 ranking – will join the country’s number one Jayden Schaper and fourth ranked Luke Mayo in the three-day battle at Leopard Creek in Mpumalanga.

“Last year only the seniors and mid-amateurs played the first Fellowship Cup, so we are stoked that there will be four teams this year,” Nienaber said.

“I believe we will do well, because we’ve all had the chance to compete at Leopard Creek. Chris and Jay played for the GolfRSA Junior team in the Africa Amateur Championship team competition earlier this year and the team finished second. Chris also finished fourth the 72-hole stroke play.

“Luke and I had to miss out due to school obligations, but we played the course during the Leopard Trophy in 2016, where Luke tied for third. Leopard Creek is a great test of golf with many challenges, but the format will give all of us a chance.

“We’re playing betterball in round one, foursomes in round two and singles in the final round, so it will be a fair fight and it’s going to be a great warm-up for Chris, Jayden and Luca Filippi for the Junior Presidents Cup next month, too.”

The South African junior quartet will face India’s top junior Kartik Sharma, as well as Harshjeet Singh Sethie, Saarthak Chhibber and Raghav Chugh, respectively ranked second, fourth and sixth on the Junior Boys Order of Merit.

“Earlier this year, we competed against some of India’s best golfers in our premier events and they really showed their mettle, especially at Leopard Creek,” said Lamprecht.

“As the Scots proved during the Africa Amateur Championship, anyone who brings an A-game to Leopard Creek has a chance to win, especially if they are striking it well and the putter is hot. So we are definitely not underestimating this junior team.”

In addition to the junior team, the countries will also field a senior, mid-amateur and open amateur team of four players each.

South Africa’s top ranked senior Steve Williams and number two Francois le Roux return for duty alongside new caps Greg Gleeson and Andre van Dyk, while the mid-amateur team features Kevin Sharp and Gerlou Roux, as well as new caps Ryan Dreyer, the country’s number one ranked mid-amateur and number two ranked Almero Theron, the reigning SA Mid-Amateur Stroke Play champion.

The open amateur team features Filippi, new caps Malcolm Mitchell and Matt Saulez and Albert Venter, who was called for duty after South Africa’s number one ranked Kyle McClatchie qualified for the US Amateur Championship.

Jayden Schaper from Ekurhuleni, Wilco Nienaber from Free State, Christo Lamprecht from Southern Cape and Luke Mayo from KwaZulu-Natal; credit GolfRSA

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

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