LANGEBAAN, 8 April 2015 – Jayden Schaper from Ebotse became only the fourth player to earn the rare double in the 29 year history of the Nomads SA Boys U-19 Championship.
In adding his name to very short list that includes Richard Sterne (1999), Dylan Frittelli (2008) and Zander Gous (2013), the 16-year-old Ekurhuleni golfer had to defeat reigning Sanlam SA Amateur champion Christo Lamprecht. Twice.
“I needed 56 holes to earn the double, but this is the most awesome moment of my career,” Schaper said after he downed Lamprecht 1-up in the 36-hole match play final at Langebaan Golf and Sports Club on Saturday.
“I didn’t know much about the history until I read about it in a press release. I wanted to win the title and that was just the added incentive I needed to spur me on.”
After Schaper and Lamprecht shared the lead at 14-under-par 274 in the Stroke Play Championship, the GolfRSA National Squad duo went toe-to-toe in a sudden-death play-off and Schaper prevailed with a birdie at the second extra hole.
“After I beat Christo I had a feeling I would face him again in the final,” said Schaper. “He was coming into some good form at the All-Africa Junior Golf Championship and he kept on improving.”
In the ensuring shootout stages, Schaper ousted Otto van Buynder, Franklin Manchest, Luca Filippi and reigning Curro SA Juniors International champion Wilco Nienaber, while Lamprecht eliminated Wian van Aswegen, Daniel Cronje, Deon Germishuys and Tyron Davidowitz.
Schaper took first blood in the final with a birdie at the second and he was 2-up after Lamprecht dropped another shot at the third, however, the Pinnacle Point golfer hung tough and squared the match with a par at 11 after Schaper’s par attempt missed the hole on the high side.
Lamprecht birdied 13 to go 1-up, but Schaper levelled the score with birdie at 15.
“I hit an eight-iron to eight feet for the birdie at 15 and holed another eight-footer for birdie at 16,” said Schaper. “At 17, I hit four-iron just off the fairway and stuck a sand-wedge next to the hole and boxed the putt for birdie. We both birdied 18.
“In both my matches against Otto and Frankie I lost focus and let it go a bit and I had to fight hard to come back to win. I was 2-up going into the last 18 and I knew I couldn’t afford to let my focus slip. Christo would pounce given half a chance.”
The pair halved the first four holes in pars, but Schaper birdied the 23rd (fifth) to go 3-up, only to give the advantage back at the next hole with a three putt bogey. Then Lamprecht gave one back after he found tee-trouble off the tee.
Both players birdied the 26th hole and pars took them to the turn with Schaper leading 3-up.
“Christo holed an eight-footer for birdie at 10 (28th hole) and we halved 11 in pars and 12 in birdies,” said Schaper. “We both had eagle chances at 12, but I missed from five feet and Christo missed from six feet. I was 2-up with six to play.
“We halved the next four holes in pars, but Christo came with a late charge at 17 (35th hole). I hit four-iron and had 134 yards to the pin. I hit a gap-wedge at the pin and it hit the flag and spun 10 feet back off the green. Christo hit his second to 10 feet and boxed the birdie putt.
“At the last hole I knew Christo would gun for an eagle to extend the match. He hit a great drive down the middle and my tee shot finished just off the fairway on the right. I hit my second 25 feet and his second shot over the flag and finished about 18 feet from the flag. We both missed about a cup on the right and halved the hole in birdies.
“We’ve played a lot of golf in the last couple of weeks and this was an epic battle, but after all the excitement it was almost an anti-climax when it ended. I’m sure it will take a while for all of this to sink in. I’m just so happy with how I played this championship and it’s a good tired. My dad was great, walking with me every day and I’m really grateful for all his support.”