GolfRSA Boys seal record win at World Cup
Eighteen years after Major winner Louis Oosthuizen won the Junior Golf World Cup with Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, Albert Kruger and Christian Ries, two protégées from his Junior Golf Academy – Martin Vorster and Christo Lamprecht – did the Open champion proud with a record-breaking victory for South Africa alongside GolfRSA team-mates Sam Simpson and Casey Jarvis at Chukyo Golf Club in Japan .
The GolfRSA Boys Team posted three-under 210 in Friday’s final round to triumph on a staggering 41-under-par 811 total.
South Africa became the first team in the 27-year history of the team event to break the 40-under barrier and wound up a full 11 shots clear of runner-up Japan and 12 ahead of Spain.
Vorster from Mossel Bay and Western Province’s Simpson led the challenge on the last day with a pair of 68s. They were backed up by Ekurhuleni’s Jarvis, who carded 74 while Lamprecht returned a non-counting 75.
“We’re extremely proud of them,” said South Africa captain Eden Thompson. “A lot of them have done very well individually, both internationally and at home. But to put your country’s name up there – this one’s very special for us.”
South Africa’s boys had already rewritten the record book earlier in the week, becoming the first team in at least a dozen years to break 200 in a single day when they combined for a 14-under-par 199 in the second round. One day later, they went even lower at 19-under 195.
Friday brought a tougher course setup and the arrival of a strong afternoon wind kept the field from approaching that standard. Nonetheless, South Africa got off to a solid start and never let anyone get closer than six shots.
“From there it was just managing expectations,” said Thompson. “Things got really slow on the back nine, and they had a lot of business to contend with. We just tried to manage their time around the 12th tee and keep them focused.”
Simpson entered the day with a three-shot lead in the Individual Competition after rounds of 70-65-63.
Three birdies in the first 10 holes kept the challengers at bay and he edged Vorster by four shots to win on 18-under 266.
“Anybody can play well in their home country, but it’s great to come and do it overseas,” said the 16-year-old Bellville golfer. “It was probably not the best day we’ve had this week, but we hung in there, kept our heads down and it was pretty special to come through with the team win.
“I knew the guys would come chasing, but I stuck to my game plan and just hit fairways and greens. I relied on the putter and it came through for me. I had a bad lie at the first in the fairway bunker and hit a great shot pin-high left and made the putt for birdie, which was exciting.”
The 2019 Boland Stroke Play champion missed a few putts, but birdied six and 10 to stay ahead.
“I dropped on 11 and there was quite a hold-up on 12. I chatted to Martin and found out he was four under for the day. I got a bit scoring orientated, because I thought about the individual win. Big mistake, because I dropped another shot at 13.
“So I put it out of my mind and just played for the team score. I birdied 14, made a great par save on 15 and two-putted for birdie at 16. And I comfortably parred 17. I was right behind a tree on 18, so I took my medicine and knocked it right-side of the green. I chipped it to 15 feet and it was really nice to drain it in front of the crowd.
“It’s really gratifying to find some form in Japan after a tough few weeks on the GolfRSA National Squad Tour in the UK and to get another win under the belt. Hopefully I can ride this form in the next few tournaments when I get home. It’s really exciting to go back as the world champions.”
Vorster relayed a message from former Open Championship winner Oosthuizen wishing the team good luck after the third round to his team-mates, which boosted the team’s morale.
“That was really cool,” said Simpson. “You get a bit of goosebumps thinking that he’s watching the live scoring and rooting for us. It was exciting to close it out for him.”
The message definitely spurred on the skipper, who played a captain’s innings that three birdies and an eagle against a lone drop.
“It was a great day for us,” said the 17-year-old reigning East of Ireland champion.
“We came with a goal and we achieved our goal by sticking to our processes and getting the small things right. We weren’t results orientated; we just focussed on our warm-ups, warm-downs, meals and on course processes. That was the secret of our success.”
The girls’ competition was tight throughout, with Mexico and the United States alternately making surges to put pressure on Japan. The difference came at the finish, where both Lopez and Zhang bogeyed their last two holes while Japan combined to play the closing hole in even-par.
Japan sealed successive victories on 18-under 558, with Mexico second and the USA third.
The GolfRSA Girls Team maintained their steady rise and recorded their best round of the week – a sizzling six-under 138.
Ekurhuleni pair Kiera Floyd and Caitlyn Macnab both fired rounds of three-under-par 69 that helped South Africa break into red figures. The team finished in sixth overall on two-under 574, while 15-year-old Floyd from Ebotse burst into the top 10 in the Girls Individual Competition with her best effort of the week. She signed off on one-under 287.