BIELLA, Italy (6 September 2016) – North West junior Andre van Dyk led the way for the South Africa team in the first round of the 11th Reply Italian International Under-16 Championship in Biella, Italy on Tuesday.
Sixteen-year-old Van Dyk from Klerksdorp mixed four birdies and an eagle with four bogeys at Golf Club Biella le Betulle for a three-under-par 70. He shares second with local junior Lorenzo Bruzzone and England’s Robin Williams, a native South African born in Paarl.
Martin Vorster from Southern Cape carded a one over 74, Yurav Premlall from Ekurhuleni shot 75 and Western Province’s Ayden Senger returned a 78.
Petr Hruby from the Czech Republic set the first round target at five under 68.
The South Africans also made a good start in the 36-hole Nations Cup, which is played concurrently with the first two rounds of the 72-hole Individual Competition. Van Dyk and Vorster combined for 144 to tie Switzerland for second. The host nation and the Czech Republic share the lead on 142.
GolfRSA Golf Operations Manager Eden Thompson said it was overall a good day for the team.
“We had two good practice rounds and having Martin return to share his knowledge of the course was good for the other boys,” Thompson said.
“Ayden was first off and understandably nervous in his first international appearance. He pushed his first tee shot right into the hazard, but was able to hack the ball diagonally out of the hazard before advancing it towards the green and two-putting for bogey. A wayward tee shot into the hazard at the third cost him another shot, but he rallied really well from there and was two over through 11.
“Unfortunately he departed from his game plan at the tight 12th and, wanting to push, found the hazard off the tee. With a really tough pin position, he got a little busy around the green, resulting in a triple bogey. To his credit he bounced back with a birdie on 13 and had it not have been for a miss from four feet on 14, he could really have got back in the game.
“Andre was next out and in control of his emotions and game. He was really solid over the front nine with birdies at two and seven and an eagle at the ninth. Two quick birdies 11 and 12 moved him to five under, but a double at the par four 15 set him back a little. He finished with solid pars to post our first sub-par round of the tournament.”
The youngest member of the team, 14-year-old Premlall, overcame a battling start, but let himself down with a double bogey late in the round.
“Yurav was pretty nervous to start, but he was focussed on his processes which helped him deal with nerves,” said Thompson. “He erased bogeys at five, six and eight with birdies at seven, 11 and 14, but unfortunately doubled 17. He mixed some fantastic shots with a few poor decisions, but never allowed the chin to drop and returned a very strong first round.
“Martin started with two bogeys, but he quickly found his feet and settled down. He battled with his distance control, though, which maybe cost him a few shots. He definitely left a few shots out there.
“The course had a tough summer with little rain and extremely high temperatures, with the result that some fairways are badly burned. The heat also resulted in a wild boar invasion, which caused widespread damage on some fairways and areas of the rough. The greens, however, run true and fast, allowing for birdies from good approach shots.