Port Elizabeth junior golfer Brian Wessels held off a spirited challenge from Southern Cape’s Jack Duthie and Ronald Baxter from the Eastern Province to claim the 22nd Glacier Junior Series title at St Francis Links on Sunday.
The 18-year-old from Newton Park navigated his way around the tough Jack Nicklaus layout in one-under-par 71 to edge out Baxter and Duthie by two shots for the title.
Wessels was delighted to pull through in the last Eastern Cape event and earn the chance to tee it up alongside the other 24 finalists in this year’s series at the national final in October.
The finalists will compete for what is arguably the biggest prize in South African junior golf – an all-expenses paid trip from Glacier by Sanlam to tee it up in the prestigious Orange Bowl Junior Invitational later this year.
A slew of top Southern Cape juniors made the trip to St Francis Bay to tee it up in the last Eastern Province event, but Wessels said he only worried about his own game.
“It was my first Glacier Junior Series tournament, so I didn’t have time to worry about the other players; I just focussed on the job at hand,” the grade 12 Grey High School learner said.
“I played really nicely and I made all the pars that counted. I dropped two shots but I made up for that with three birdies that helped me to a two shot lead.
“I’m absolutely thrilled at the prospect of teeing it up at the final. I won a 36-hole Junior Tournament in really windy conditions at Humewood earlier this year, so I’m quietly confident that my skills in the wind and at the coast will help me in the final. “
The 22nd tournament on the popular Glacier by Sanlam sponsored series drew a field of 57 players, including four-handicap golfer Imkeleen Meyer, who looked a shoe-in to win after turning in one-under. Although she struggled over the back nine, Meyer still came home in 71 to win Best Nett in the A-Division.
“I struggled a little in the wind over the closing holes and I had some bad luck when my ball spun off the green into a water hazard at one hole, but overall, I was thrilled with my performance,” said the 16-year-old from Dispatch.
“This was my first really big tournament, so I was a little apprehensive but I’m really happy with my performance, especially because I was able to play to my handicap. It was a big stage for me and I feel that I handled my first proper tournament really well.”
Meanwhile 16-year-old Mieke de Ridder carded an 80 off her eight handicap to win the B-Division, while Pieter Zietsman beat former SAGDB learner, Jamie Lee Daniels from Uitenhage for second place by in a count-out on 84.
De Ridder was thrilled to win, although she felt her score could have been even better.
“My putter just went stone cold,” lamented the 16-year-old from Lovemore Heights in Port Elizabeth.
“I was solid tee to green; every tee shot hit the fairways and I hit almost every green in regulation, but I couldn’t sink a putt to save my life. That’s golf, I suppose, but I was still thrilled to finish first.”
De Ridder said the tournament was a great experience.
“You really felt like a professional player out there because the tournament was so well organised,” said De Ridder, who was rewarded with a Cleveland lob-wedge for her first place finish.
“It’s a great pity we don’t have more of these Glacier events in the Eastern Province. Hopefully I can get my handicap down to six so I can challenge in the A-Division next year.”
The series heads into the home straight this August and the country’s leading junior golfers have just three more opportunities to qualify for the national final and earn the chance to challenge for the grand prize.
On August 5th, Thomas Aiken hosts his event at Wanderers Golf Club while Richard Sterne has his tournament at Erinvale Country Club, European Tour winner James Kingston hosts the final event on this year’s schedule on Monday, 19 August at Rustenburg Golf Club. The venue for the national final from 3-5 October will be announced shortly.
ST FRANCIS LINKS TOURNAMENT RESULTS (St Francis Links, 29 July 2012)
A-Division (1-6 Handicap)
1. Brian Wessels 71 gross
2. Ronald Baxter 73 gross (on count out)
3. Jack Duthie 73 gross
Best Nett – Imkeleen Meyer 71
B-Division (7-18 Handicap) 1. Mieke de Ridder 80 gross
2. Pieter Zietsman 84 gross (on count out)
3. Jamie Lee Daniels 84 gross
Best Nett – Andrew Jeffrey 76
C-Division (19-36 Handicap)
1. Hendrik Brown 38 points
2. Desmond Goeda 33 points
3. Reece Coleman 32 points
Source : www.supersport.com