MALELANE, 11 January 2016 – While Cameron Moralee basked in the glory of winning the Freddie Tait Cup as the leading amateur in the BMW SA Open proudly hosted by Ekurhuleni on Sunday, Dylan Naidoo was chasing down back-to-back victories on the South African Golf Association (SAGA) national junior circuit at Leopard Creek Country Club near Malelane.
Just two days after the reigning Nomads SA Boys U19 Stroke Play champion clinched a five-stroke victory in the Dr Bam tournament in Benoni, Naidoo lined up alongside 22 of the country’s leading juniors in the inaugural Leopard Trophy.
Naidoo and fellow Central Gauteng junior Marco Steyn opened with a pair of 70s in the invitation-only event that teed off in mostly overcast conditions with a hint of a breeze just to keep cool.
But the TuksSport Golf Academy duo will have their job cut out to catch first round pacesetter Steven le Roux.
A key player in securing Free State’s promotion in the South African U-19 Inter-Provincial in December, Le Roux made a fast start with three consecutive birdies from the 10th.
The South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB) member picked up another birdie before the turn and was seven under after a birdie-eagle start to the back nine.
He reversed the damage of bogeys at three and eight with a closing birdie at the par-four ninth for a six-under-par 66 and a four-shot cushion over Naidoo and Steyn.
“The players relished the chance to compete on South Africa’s number one ranked course and the opportunity to play at the home of the Sunshine Tour’s Alfred Dunhill Championship,” said SAGA Golf Integration Manager Eden Thompson.
“Steven’s 66 was an incredible score as the course was setup longer than “standard club” and there is no placing. The juniors are really are experiencing this course as the pros do each year.”
Meanwhile, Hilmi Mallick from Western Province surrendered just one stroke on his way to an opening 71.
The SAGDB player finished in a five-way tie for fourth with 2015 Africa Junior Open winner Sentanio Minnie and reigning Central Gauteng Open champion Dylan Mostert from Ekurhuleni, Gauteng North’s Werner Deyzel and Matt Saulez from KwaZulu-Natal.
FIRST ROUND SCORES
66 Steven le Roux
70 Dylan Naidoo; Marco Steyn
71 Matt Saulez; Dylan Mostert; Sentanio Minnie; Hilmi Mallick; Werner Deyzel
72 Jovan Rebula
73 Kyle McClatchie; Luke Mayo; Estiaan Conradie
74 Keelan van Wyk
75 Rosswell Sinclair
76 Wilco Nienaber
77 Kyle Barker
78 Dawid Opperman; Jordan Duminy
79 Juan-Pierre Cooper
80 Martin Vorster; Hayden Garcia; Kyle De Beer
81 Franklin Manchest
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.