CAPE TOWN, 4 January 2018 – The third annual Africa Amateur Stroke Play Championship in February will be a significant occasion for Southern Cape junior Martin Vorster.
The 15-year-old Mossel Bay golfer will don the national blazer for the first time when he debuts for the SA Junior Team along with Jayden Schaper from Ekurhuleni, Wilco Nienaber from Free State and Southern Cape’s Christo Lamprecht in the prestigious international event.
Vorster shot to fourth in the South African Golf Association (SAGA) Junior Rankings on the back of a watershed season that included an international breakthrough in the Reply Italian U-16 Championship and a national victory in the Nomads SA Boys U-15 Championship.
Schaper heads the current Junior standings, Nienaber is second and Lamprecht third.
SAGA and GolfRSA also named KwaZulu-Natal trio Malcolm Mitchell, Matt Saulez and Clayton Mansfield, as well as Kyle McClatchie from Ekurhuleni to the SA Senior team that will challenge the international onslaught in the team competition that is played with the first three rounds of the 72-hole stroke play championship.
Mitchell is ranked second in the Open Amateur standings, McClatchie is third, Saulez fourth and Mansfield eighth.
Scotland will be gunning for a hat-trick in this year’s team event, but SAGA President Geoff Taylor believes South Africa has two fantastic opportunities to bring the trophy back to home soil.
“The eight players we named definitely have the talent, depth of character and the determination to win the team event,” Taylor said.
“We are excited to see Kyle, Jayden and Christo return for duty. Kyle was part of the SA Senior team that finished third last year and Jayden and Christo were the anchors for the SA Junior team that chased Scotland to the finish line.
“All four players on the SA Senior team performed extremely well individually last year to make significant strides in the rankings. They also gained significant experience competing abroad last year and achieved some fantastic results.
“Kyle won the English Mens Stroke Play Championship and reached the match play stage in the U.S. Amateur. He is undoubtedly the most experienced player on the team, having represented South Africa on the international stage since 2014, and he will no doubt inspire the team.
“Malcolm and Matt both achieved top five finishes in Argentina and partnered Malcolm and Garrick Higgo to an eighth consecutive victory for South Africa in the All Africa Golf Team Championship in Zimbabwe. Malcolm and Matt were also unbeaten in their debut in the Fellowship Cup Test at Leopard Creek against India and Clayton performed admirably for the South African Universities Team in his international debut at the 2017 Summer Universiade in Taipei. We have great confidence in their ability to face the international challengers.”
Schaper and Lamprecht both qualified on their world amateur golf rankings for the inaugural Junior Presidents Cup last September and produced vital points for the International Team under great pressure from the American team. They also both contributed to South Africa’s 19th consecutive victory in the All Africa Junior Golf Challenge and a top 10 finish for South Africa in the prestigious Toyota Junior Golf World Cup in Japan.
“At individual level, Jayden completed the first-ever ‘Grand Slam’ of Nomads SA Boys titles with his victory in the U-17 event and his rare double in the U-19 championship,” said Taylor. “He captured two Sunshine Tour Junior Series titles and posted seven top 10 finishes on the Open Amateur circuit, while Christo became the youngest champion of our flagship Sanlam SA Amateur and finished the season with back-to-back victories on the Sunshine Tour Junior Series.
“Wilco racked up 11 victories that included three titles on the Open Amateur circuit, five junior titles and a hat-trick titles on Global Junior Golf Tour.
“Our new cap Martin won the Nomads SA Boys U-15 Championship and celebrated an international breakthrough in the Reply Italian U-16 Championship.
“We are confident that we have selected the strongest and most in-form players for this year’s team event and we are certain that these players will fly the flag for South Africa with great pride and honour.”
Vorster said his selection is a dream come true.
“Receiving my national colours is without a doubt the proudest achievement of my career,” said the Louis Oosthuizen Junior Academy golfer. “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 play with Jayden, Christo and Wilco at Glendower. We are definitely committed to winning the team championship and bringing the trophy back home.”
GolfRSA CEO Grant Hepburn said the teams reflect the vision of the championship.
“Shortly after GolfRSA was established, our chairman Mr Johann Rupert urged us to launch an international event with a team element to encourage international players to compete on our shores and give our top amateurs the chance to gain valuable experience.
“The first two editions of the Africa Amateur Stroke Play Championship proved very successful and the difference between the top teams came down to a shot of two. The competition is always strong and the standard incredibly high.
“This is exactly what we hoped for. I have every confidence that our two teams will do South Africa proud, and that these individuals will also excel in the stroke play championship.”
The first two editions of the Africa Amateur Stroke Play Championship was hosted at the magnificent Leopard Creek Golf Estate in Mpumalanga, however the third edition will be played at Glendower Golf Club from 13-16 February.
“We definitely consider Leopard Creek the home of the Africa Amateur Stroke Play Championship, but due to the fact that the course is currently undergoing some changes, we had to look for another suitable venue for this year,” Hepburn said.
“As the host of SAGA’s flagship event – the BWM SA Open, hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni – Glendower Golf Club has brought some of the best players in the game to its knees over the last few years. It’s is a fantastic, challenging venue to test the cream of international amateur golf.”