Casey, 14, wins in­ter­na­tional golf ti­tle

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - WEEK­END ARGUS RE­PORTER

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.”

Casey Jarvis

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