Four­somes for­mat prac­tice pays off for WP golf ju­niors

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - MIKE DE BRUYN

BET­TER pre-tour­na­ment prepa­ra­tion set up the Wester n Prov­ince ju­nior golf team for a much-im­proved show­ing at the No­mads Un­der-18 In­ter-Pro­vin­cial tour­na­ment that was played at Bloem­fontein re­cently.

Prov­ince, the 2001 and 2003 cham­pi­ons, fin­ished run­ners-up to Cen­tral Gaut­eng in what was their best show­ing in re­cent times, hav­ing placed 10th in 2007 and third last year.

Prov­ince’s im­proved per­for­mance, es­pe­cially in the four­somes for­mat (al­ter­nate shots), where they have strug­gled to adapt in the past, has now been put to rest thanks to WP Golf Union ini­ti­at­ing a num­ber of new events fea­tur­ing this (try­ing) for­mat such as the WP Golf Foun­da­tion, WP and Clovelly four­somes, which en­abled the man­age­ment and team to try out/work on com­bi­na­tions whilst fos­ter­ing teamwork.

It was a good week for WP No 2 Josh de Klerk, who was named most valu­able player.

De Klerk, 16, is a win­ner of the WP ju­nior mas­ters and has rep­re­sented the Un­der-16 na­tional team for the past two years.

He also cre­ated a bit of his­tory when he be­came the first player from WP to win a na­tional Or­der of merit ti­tle. De Klerk out­played the best young play­ers in the land to scoop a win on the East­ern Prov­ince leg of the six­tour­na­ment strong sched­ule.

Prov­ince No 1 Jean-Paul Stry­dom, 18, is touted as a fu­ture star. Blessed with an all-round game, he shot a 10-un­der-par 36-hole to­tal score with rounds of 66 and 68 on his home course Dur­banville to win the re­gional leg of the Hayes Ju­nior Clas­sic.

The plus 1 hand­i­cap­per has rep­re­sented his club’s first team at Premier league level and has won nu­mer­ous ti­tles on the lo­cal ju­nior cir­cuit.

Best per­for­mance by a WP player at the IPTs came from Mil­ner­ton’s plus 1 hand­i­cap­per Cur­tis Schacht who, play­ing at No 4, won eight and drew one of 12 sin­gles matches.

Schacht was part of the Ernie Els Golf Foun­da­tion for three months be­fore opt­ing out for a re­turn to Mil­ner­ton High School. His big­gest strengths are his drive/iron play.

The com­bi­na­tion of De Klerk and Ben Thorne (Mow­bray) shone in the four­somes with seven wins and one draw.

De Klerk, Stry­dom and Chris­tian Helm­bold have also rep­re­sented WP at Un­der-23 level. Good news is that four of this year’s team will be el­i­gi­ble for se­lec­tion next year.

They are De Klerk, Thorne, Schacht and Helm­bold.

It’s a rosy po­si­tion for us to be in,” said WP’s pres­i­dent of ju­nior golf Peter Lit­tle. “It was a vast im­prove­ment from the boys. We did our level best to send our play­ers to as many in­ter-tour­na­ments around the coun­try and placed a big em­pha­sis on im­prov­ing our record in the four­somes for­mat by in­clud­ing them in all our lo­cal events where the for­mat was played.

“Next time round I’m hope­ful that we will go all the way.”

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