LUSAKA, Zambia (29 April 2014) – Overnight leaders South Africa kept their title defence at the All-Africa Junior Golf Challenge on track, but gusting winds and low early morning temperatures caught the foursome off guard on Tuesday.
After rocky performances around the front loop at Chainama Hills Golf Club, Jovan Rebula and Kyle McClatchie rallied on the home stretch to close with 74s, while Altin van der Merwe added a lone drop to a pair of bogeys on the front nine to sign for a 75.
The defending champions combined for a 223 to retain their lead and top the log at 443.
South Africa can hardly afford to relax, though, after last year’s silver medallists finished just 11 strokes off the pace.
Taking advantage of the later tee time, Zimbabwe’s Stuart Krog and Kieron Vincent cruised home with a pair of one-under-par 71s.
Assisted by an 80 from Justin Kersten, the side matched South Africa’s opening score and their 222 helped the team to comfortably leapfrog Zambia, Reunion and Uganda into second on 454.
Subjected to the same trying conditions as South Africa, Zambia’s Gabriel Chibale (78), Peter Munyinya (79) and Charles Shalubobya (81) combined for a 238 that dropped the host nation to third on a total score of 460.
Reunion doubled up with another 231 after a 78 from Alexandre Rajerinera and a brace of 75s from Julian Sale and Robin Mas. The side lags just two shots behind Zambia in fourth.
Meanwhile Byaruhane Andrew (74) and Dennis Otim (75) combined with Ronald Otile, who shaved eight shots off his opening 87 to back up his team with a 79 and take their total to 236.
The side slipped to fifth and sits seven shots behind the host nation.
The matches between South Africa, Zambia, Uganda and Reunion was characterised by lost balls and blue numbers as players were heavily penalised for wayward shots over the first nine holes of the 2,777 meter loop.
SA team manager Kevin Stone said players arrived at the ninth looking rather defeated, but quickly shifted gears to stem the bleeding and erase the bogeys.
“It was indescribably cold when we arrived at the club, especially after the hot weather in the first round,” Stone explained. “The strong, gusting wind made matters even worse and all four nations struggled to get going.
“Once the team was warmed up, things started looking a lot better. Kyle and Jovan were both pretty solid, with three birdies each. Alvin was great off the tee. He had a bunch of lip-outs and close misses on the greens, but limited his bogeys to just three.”
The team’s fourth member and first round pacesetter, Hennie du Plessis, battled to an 82.
“Actually, Kyle and Hennie were both hit with a stomach bug, but Hennie got the brunt of it on the course and really struggled,” Stone said. “It’s one of those things that can happen when you travel and we all admire his tenacity for seeing out the round. “
Stone added that the spirit at this year’s championship is very competitive.
“We can definitely not afford any complacency,” he said. “The Chainama course is tough and tight and the players are finding the greens a real challenge.
“The course levels the playing field and the tournament got an added edge with the announcement that this year’s champions and runners-up will compete at the TOYOTA Junior Golf World Cup in Japan. There a fantastic competitive spirit out there among the nations.
“Our boys are very positive and determined, but we will have to keep working hard at this. They realise that they need to play percentage golf here and take no unnecessary chances.”
SECOND ROUND TEAM STANDINGS (best three scores to count)
443 South Africa 220 – 223
454 Zimbabwe 232 – 222
460 Zambia 222 – 238
462 Reunion 231 – 231
467 Uganda 231 – 236
476 Kenya 238 – 238
478 Tunisia 233 – 245
486 Swaziland 246 – 240
492 Namibia 255 – 237
507 Botswana 246 – 261
525 Mauritius 271 – 254
568 Malawi 280 – 288
SECOND ROUND INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD (top 10 gross)
71 Kieron Vincent (Zimbabwe)
71 Stuart Krog (Zimbabwe)
74 Jovan Rebula (South Africa)
74 Kyle McClatchie (South Africa)
75 Julian Sale (Reunion)
75 Altin van der Merwe (South Africa)
75 Adel Balala (Kenya)
76 Daniel Ndova (Kenya)
76 James Pennington (Swaziland)
76 Stefanus Bonifatius (Namibia)
CUMULATIVE INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD (top 10 gross)
146 Kieron Vincent (Zimbabwe) 75 71
148 Jovan Rebula (South Africa) 74 74
149 Kyle McClatchie (South Africa) 75 74
149 Stuart Krog (Zimbabwe) 78 71
150 Robin Mas (Reunion) 73 77
151 Elyes Barhoumi (Tunisia) 74 77
152 Daniel Ndova (Kenya) 76 76
152 Kelvin Chibuye (Zambia) 70 82
153 Julian Sale (Reunion) 78 75
153 Hennie du Plessis (South Africa) 71 82
153 Altin van der Merwe (South Africa) 78 75
153 Peter Munyinya (Zambia) 74 79
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.