Casey, 14, wins international golf title
CASEY Jarvis celebrated South Africa’s second victory in England this season when he captured the English Boys’ Under-14 Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship title.
Casey, 14, from Boksburg produced a wire-to-wire performance at the Manchester Golf Club to lift the Reid Trophy with a winning score of 4-under 212 on Thursday.
Kyle McClatchie from Benoni, South Africa’s topranked representative, secured the country’s first trophy when he won the English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play by one shot in May.
Casey made it two wins for the national squad when he birdied the final hole for a 74 and a two-stroke victory over Jose Ballester from Spain.
“I am super proud of myself,” he said. “After I tied for fifth last year, I was determined to do better this year. I took the lead in the first round and never lost it. I overcame all the challenges.”
Casey headed into the final day with a four-shot lead after rounds of 68 and 70 and moved to 7-under with his first birdie of the day at the par-five second.
He dropped three successive shots from five to seven before he turned the tide with a birdie at the par-five ninth.
“I laid up at the second with an eight-iron and I hit sandwedge to five feet,” he said.
“I hit my drive into the long stuff at five. I had to chip out and couldn’t up-and-down to save par.
“At six, I was in the middle of the fairway, but my threewood finished right of the green and I didn’t up-and-down to save par. At seven, I hit gap-wedge over the green and finished with another bogey.
“I think I got a little tense on the front nine, but I settled down with the birdie at nine. I hit a good drive, and a fivewood right of the green and I chipped it to a foot and holed the putt. I knew I was still leading, but I didn’t really think about it. I just wanted to try to limit the mistakes.”
Casey’s Spanish rival racked up five birdies on the front nine and came within a shot of the South African with a 68 that included a birdie-eagle combination at 13 and 14 and a birdie at 17.
“I had no idea about Jose, because he was playing way in front of me, so I thought I had a five-shot lead,” he said.
“I had a three-putt bogey at 13 and put myself in the long stuff again at 15 for another bogey. It was only when I reached 18 that a scorer told me Jose shot 68 and he finished on 2-under.
“I realised I only had a oneshot lead and I needed par at the last hole to guarantee the win.
“I hit a great drive and had 148m left to the pin. I hit an eight-iron eight feet and holed the birdie putt for the win. I didn’t play my best golf in the last round, but I hung tough.
“I recovered well and made the birdies and pars that counted.”
Casey said that winning the national championship in England surpassed his victory in the ages 10-11 category at the Optimist International Championships in the US last year.
“This is by far my biggest achievement, because this win was against tough competition in really tough conditions,” he said.
“That’s why it means so much to me. It really inspires me for the future.
“I’m very grateful for my parents, Kevin and Kim, my coach Grant Veenstra, and GolfRSA. I couldn’t have done this without your support.”
Casey travelled to England with fellow Ekurhuleni junior, Christopher Bagnall, 13, from the Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate, who tied for 38th on debut with rounds of 75, 76 and 77.
“I want to thank the Bagnall family for letting me travel with them and for cheering me on this week,” said Casey. “It was so great to have home crowd support out there, and I’m super stoked that Chris made the cut as well. “We are going to Scotland next and Chris and I will be competing in the Loretto School Scottish Boys Under-14 Championship. We are having the best time competing.”