PORT ELIZABETH, 5 October 2017 – Amilkar Bhana put an exclamation mark on a successful title defence while helping Central Gauteng to their first victory in the Nomads SA Under-13 Championship at Port Elizabeth Golf Club on Thursday.
Central Gauteng headed into the final day’s action in a tie for the lead with North West after earlier rounds of 376 and 400.
For a third day running, the juniors were subjected to strong wind and low temperatures, but 12-year-old Bhana stepped up to the plate. The 2017 Gowrie SA U-15 Challenge champion was four off the pace at the start of the final round, but he edged into the lead with 11 straight pars.
After landing a pair of birdies at 12 and 13, Bhana cancelled a lone bogey at 15 with a birdie at 16 and drained an eagle putt at the final hole to anchor the team with a four-under-par 68.
Boosted by Bhana’s effort, the team constructed a final round 377 to celebrate a five shot victory over North West on 1153. Jaden Deltel also dipped under par with a 71, Joshua Hirsh and Stephanie Barbaglia returned rounds of 79 and Hannes Strooh contributed an 80.
Team manager Vijay Bhana was bursting with pride over his son’s achievement, but was quick to point out that the victory was a team effort.
“There was no stars on this team, just six players who played for each other,” said Bhana. “The first two rounds were incredibly tough on these pint-sized juniors. They really battled, but they played their hearts out while the wind tore around the course at 45 to 50 kilometres per hour.
“After we drew with North West in the second round, I told the guys just go out there in the final round and to have some fun. The weather was going to let up a little and I wanted them to go out there and just hit the ball with some freedom. But their commitment to win won out.
“They showed so much heart this week and punched well above their weight given the adverse weather conditions. They never complained and they played as a team for the team. Yes, I am proud of Amilkar for surprising all of us, but I am incredibly proud of what this team achieved.
“We want to share this victory to all the people who has given us so much support and we dedicate this to the Andy Truluck, the Central Gauteng Golf Union and all the parents. We are proud to share this amazing achievement with all of you.”
North West fought bravely, but despite a great 72 from South African Golf Development Board player Rorisang Nkosi in the final round, the side came up short for a second year running.
Stefano Marchetti carded 74, Ockert Brits returned a 75, Dandre de Villiers posted 79 and Luc Gavagnin signed for 82 to give North West a final round total of 382 and a tournament tally of 1158.
Gauteng North finished third on 1166 after a final round 384 compiled by Joshua Koekemoer (70), Dujuan Snyman (73), Fabrizio de Abreu (75), Phil Snyman (78) and Henry Juan Human (88).
Bhana sealed his title defence in the Individual Competition on one-over-par 217 with the low round of the tournament.
Marchetti took second and Joshua Koekemoer from Gauteng North closed with a 70 to finish third on 222. Dujuan Snyman from Gauteng North moved to fourth on 225 with a final round 73.
Local hero Jordon Wessels from Wedgewood Country Club gave the home crowd lots to cheer about when he signed for a 71 to seal a top five finish on 227.
(Best five of six scores to count)
1153 Central Gauteng
1158 North West
1166 Gauteng North
1173 Western Province
1227 Southern Cape
1252 SA Kids
1280 Eastern Province
1370 Northern Cape
INDIVIDUAL RESULT – TOP 20
217 Amilkar Bhana 72 77 68
221 Stefano Marchetti 69 78 74
222 Joshua Koekemoer 76 76 70
225 Dujuan Snyman 74 78 73
227 Jordan Wessels 76 80 71
228 Rorisang Nkosi 77 79 72; Jack Buchanan 75 73 80
229 Kiera Floyd 73 79 77; Hannes Strooh 71 78 80
231 Jaden Deltel 77 83 71; Matthew Lotz 77 81 73; Ockert Brits 71 85 75
232 Caden Chuang 75 83 74
235 Fabrizio de Abreu 80 80 75; Dylan Kayne 77 82 76; Joshua Hirsch 77 79 79; Tiaan Hugo 73 82 80
237 Ruben Jansen van Rensburg 79 81 77; Phil Snyman 78 81 78
238 Eric Venter 79 87 72