LEOPARD CREEK, 14 August 2017 – New cap Wilco Nienaber validated his ticket on the GolfRSA Junior Team for the upcoming Fellowship Cup against India at Leopard Creek with his eighth win this season on Sunday.
“Now it’s all systems go for the Fellowship Cup,” the 17-year-old Bloemfontein golfer, who swept to victory in the Sun International Africa Junior Open on the Sunshine Tour Junior Series.
Nienaber went head-to-head in the final round with team-mate and reigning Sanlam SA Amateur champion Christo Lamprecht, who also hit great form, racking up five birdies for a joint third place finish at the Fish River Sun Resort.
“Wilco and I can’t wait to get to Leopard Creek now, because it’s the kind of course you can only take on if your game is on song. Heading to Mpumalanga with form is great for both of us,” said Lamprecht from Southern Cape.
Nienaber and Lamprecht – respectively second and third on the latest SA Junior U-19 ranking – will join the country’s number one Jayden Schaper from Ekurhuleni and fourth ranked Luke Mayo from KwaZulu-Natal in the three-day battle at Leopard Creek in Mpumalanga.
“Last year only the seniors and mid-amateurs played the first Fellowship Cup, so we are stoked that there will be four teams this year,” Nienaber said.
“I think we’ll do well against India, because we’ve all competed at Leopard Creek before. Chris and Jay played for the GolfRSA Junior team in the Africa Amateur Championship team competition earlier this year and the team finished second. Chris also finished fourth the 72-hole stroke play.
“Luke and I had to miss out due to school obligations, but we played the course during the Leopard Trophy in 2016, where Luke tied for third. Leopard Creek is a great test of golf with many challenges, but the format will give all of us a chance.
“We’re playing betterball in round one, foursomes in round two and singles in the final round, so it should be a good fight. The test will be a great warm-up for Chris, Jayden and Luca Filippi for the Junior Presidents Cup next month, too.”
The South African junior quartet will face India’s top junior Kartik Sharma, as well as Harshjeet Singh Sethie, Saarthak Chhibber and Raghav Chugh, respectively ranked second, fourth and sixth on the Junior Boys Order of Merit.
“Earlier this year, we competed against some of India’s best golfers in our premier events and they really showed their mettle, especially at Leopard Creek,” said Lamprecht.
“As the Scots proved during the Africa Amateur Championship, anyone who brings an A-game to Leopard Creek has a chance to win, especially if they are striking it well and the putter is hot. So we are definitely not underestimating this junior team.”
In addition to the junior team, the countries will also field a senior, mid-amateur and open amateur team of four players each.
South Africa’s top ranked senior Steve Williams from Gauteng and number two Francois le Roux from Western Province return for duty alongside new caps Greg Gleeson from Gauteng and Andre van Dyk from North West. The mid-amateur team features Kevin Sharp from Gauteng and Western Province’s Gerlou Roux, as well as new caps Ryan Dreyer from Gauteng – the country’s number one ranked mid-amateur – and number two ranked Almero Theron from Free State, the reigning SA Mid-Amateur Stroke Play champion.
The open amateur team features Filippi from Western Province, new caps Malcolm Mitchell and Matt Saulez from KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng North’s Albert Venter, who was called for duty after South Africa’s number one ranked Kyle McClatchie qualified for the US Amateur Championship.