TSHWANE, 2 February 2017 – The second African Amateur Championship at the end of February will be a significant occasion for defending champion Albert Venter, who will wear the national blazer for the first time.
The South African Golf Association (SAGA) named Venter – along with Aubrey Beckley, Kyle McClatchie and Marco Steyn – to the Senior Team that will represent South Africa alongside a Junior Team at the prestigious international championship at Leopard Creek from 28 February to 3 March.
The Senior Team and juniors Christo Lamprecht, Luca Filippi, Garrick Higgo and Jayden Schaper will go up against teams from England, Mauritius, Reunion, France, Zimbabwe, Switzerland and India in the team competition that is played concurrently with the first three rounds of the 72-hole stroke play championship.
“We are very pleased to have Aubrey, Kyle, Marco and Albert to represent South Africa in the Team Competition,” said GolfRSA chief executive officer Grant Hepburn.
“All four players performed extremely well last year to rise to the top five in the South African Golf Association Open Amateur rankings and we are confident that we are sending two very strong team in to bat this year.
“Marco was in the Senior Team that lost by a narrow one stroke margin to Scotland in last year and our juniors finished a credible fourth behind France.
“We believe SAGA has selected the strongest and most in-form players to challenge this year and we are confident that the players will fly the flag for South Africa with great pride and honour.”
Twelve months ago, Venter staved off Englishman Jamie Bower and Scottish trio Jamie Savage, Jack McDonald and reigning Sanlam SA Amateur champion Craig Ross to claim an emphatic five stroke victory the inaugural event.
The trophy finish sparked a fantastic run for the GolfRSA National Squad player.
Venter broke into the top 10 with further success in the Western Province Stroke Play and the MCB Indian Ocean Amateur Golf Open in Mauritius and a fistful of top five finishes.
The 20-year-old Gauteng North golfer was invited to compete in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open courtesy of his victory at Leopard Creek. He also received a start in the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December, where he missed the cut by just one shot.
“Receiving my national colours is without a doubt the proudest achievement of my career,” Venter said. “To put on the green and gold is something I’ve dreamt about for a long time and I worked incredibly hard to achieve this. I can’t even put into words what it meant to me when I got the call.
“I am incredibly excited to join Aubrey, Kyle and Marco at Leopard Creek. I believe we have an advantage in that we all know the course well. We are definitely committed to winning the team championship and we want to inspire the Junior Team to make it a one-two finish for South Africa.”