Brandon hopes to have name carved in Glacier Series Stone

At the age of 22, Brandon Stone is living the dream. He’s a European Tour winner. He has a new car. He’s gone from a “whipper-snapper” to a household name. But there is one thing he would still dearly like to have.

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JANUARY 10: BMW South African Open Champion Brandon Stone during day 4 of the 2016 BMW SA Open at Glendower Golf Course on January 10, 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa. EDITOR'S NOTE: For free editorial use. Not available for sale. No commercial usage. (Photo by Petri Oeschger/Sunshine Tour/Gallo Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – JANUARY 10: BMW South African Open Champion Brandon Stone during day 4 of the 2016 BMW SA Open at Glendower Golf Course on January 10, 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Petri Oeschger/Sunshine Tour/Gallo Images)

Michael Vlismas – “I hope one day I can get the chance to put my name to a tournament on the Glacier Junior Series,” Stone said as he reflected this week on how the country’s biggest junior golf series has helped to shape his career.

The Glacier Junior Series teed off in 2010 and is defined by South Africa’s leading professional golfers such as Ernie Els, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace, George Coetzee and others who support the series by putting their names to tournaments and, where possible, making an appearance at the events.

This year’s series tees off at Benoni Country Club this Sunday. At the same time, Stone may find himself challenging for a second European Tour title in the Tshwane Open at Pretoria Country Club.

So too may Haydn Porteous, who is also a product of the Glacier Junior Series. Add fellow professionals Zander Lombard and Christiaan Bezuidenhout, the new “Young Big 4” of South African golf who all honed their skills on this popular series.

“I can clearly remember playing the Glacier Junior Series National Final one year with Haydn.  JC Ritchie was in our final group and he ended up winning it. As the champion he earned an invitation to the Junior Orange Bowl International Championship in America and it boosted his career. Now he’s a pro golfer on the Sunshine Tour. Haydn, JC and myself were talking about it just this week.

“There is such a big crop of young players coming through now and there’s no question that the Glacier Junior Series is opening a lot of doors for a lot of young players. As a young golfer that’s what you’re looking for – opportunities. The series is just another great opportunity for our young golfers to launch their careers.”

Porteous echoed Stone’s sentiments.

“The Glacier Junior Series gave me an opportunity to play in America at the Orange Bowl and see what the best juniors in the world are like. It made me realise that the level of golf internationally was not that much better than what we were playing. It was such an important learning curve for me. It’s just one of many great foundations we have in South Africa and which gives us loads of stepping stones.

“I reached number one as a junior, then you set your sights on becoming number one amateur in the country. Then you want to become the number one professional on the Sunshine Tour and you move to the European Tour and hopefully the PGA Tour. As a junior golfer the Glacier Junior Series is that first step that allows you to plot your career going forward.”

This year’s Glacier Junior Series features 16 tournaments played nationwide, with the A Division winners of each qualifying for the National Final.

2016 Glacier Junior Series Schedule

DATE VENUE Entries open on:

Sunday, 14 February Benoni Country Club

Sunday, 13 March Mowbray Golf Club

Sunday, 20 March Umhlali Country Club

Monday, 4 April Royal Cape Golf Club

Sunday, 17 April Zwartkop Country Club

Sunday, 24 April Country Club Johannesburg

Sunday, 8 May Humewood Golf Club

Sunday, 15 May Bloemfontein Golf Club

Sunday, 29 May The Els Club Copperleaf

Sunday, 5 June Middelburg Country Club

Sunday, 26 June Germiston Country Club

Tuesday, 28 June Stellenbosch Golf Club

Saturday, 23 July The Links at Fancourt

Sunday, 7 August Houghton Golf Club

Sunday, 14 August Pretoria Country Club

Sunday, 18 September Paarl Golf Club

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