South Africa Fights For Top 10 In Japan At Junior Golf World Cup

A stupendous effort from Jovan Rebula and wingmen, Kyle McClatchie and Altin Van Der Merwe lifted South Africa to a top 10 finish in the final round of the TOYOTA Junior Golf World Cup in Japan on Friday.  The South Africans posted a solid opening 208 to tie for fifth, but subsequent rounds of 215 and 218 saw the junior foursome slip to 12th in the 15-nation field in Aichi-Prefecture, Japan.  Deflated, but not defeated, the local heroes rallied with a solid final round five-under-par 208 to seal a top 10 finish at three-under-par 849.

The Southern Cape’s Rebula scorched the par-71 layout at Tokyo’s Chukyo Country Club in 66 strokes to boost the team’s momentum, while McClathie from Ekurhuleni went around in two under 69 and Western Province’s Van Der Merwe added a 73.  Hennie Du Plessis from Limpopo, the team’s top scorer in the first round, carded a non-counting 74.  “This was a great final round showing from all the boys and I am really proud of the way they rose the challenge.  The weather turned nasty after nine holes, but they all dug deep on the back nine to ensure a top 10 finish for South Africa.  This week as been a superb learning curve for these future champions and I am sure they will have taken a lot on board in this world class championship,” said South African Golf Association vice-president, Gerhard Conradie.

Rebula’s momentous effort also lifted the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member to 10th in the Individual Competition standings.  The George teenager shared 10th spot on five-under-par 279 with Australia’s Zach Murray after rounds of 72, 71, 70 and 66.  Norway blitzed the course in seven-under-par 206 to win the prestigious team championship.

The Norwegian team finished the tournament at 21-under-par 831, four strokes clear of joint runners-up, Venezuela and the United States.  Zimbabwe made their debut in the top international event, courtesy of their runner-up finish behind South Africa at the All-Africa Junior Golf Championship in Zambia in May.  Stuart Krog, Justin Kersten, Kieron Vincent and Mbongeni Mpahosa carded rounds of 224, 221 and 226 and closed with a great 214 to finish on 33-over-par 885.

An impressive final round 67 from Krog lifted the number one junior to a tie for 26th on two over 286 in the individual standings.  Meanwhile Jorge Garcia dipped below par in all four rounds his combination of 64, 68, 64 and 67 handed the Venezuelan golfer an eight stroke victory on 21-under-par 263 for his second successive victory in the Individual Competition.  Australia’s Brett Coletta finished second, while Joaquin Niemann from Chile took third on 11 under.

In the Girls’ Division, Japan held off a late charge from Korea to win the Girls Team Competition.  The Japanese team carded a final round two over 146 to finish the tournament at even par.  Korea’s Kim So-Jung fired a final round four-under-par 68 to win the Individual Competition on three under 285 by one shot from Sweden’s Linnea Strom.

Photo: South Africa made a great final round comeback to finish 10th in the 22nd Toyota World Junior Golf Team Championship in Japan.
Photo Credit: SAGA.