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Du Toit primed for Albatross challenge in India

JOHANNESBURG, 25 November 2014 – Gauteng North’s Danielle du Toit will make her debut alongside Shawnelle de Lange, Crystal Beukes and Brittney-Fay Berger at the sixth Albatross International Junior Golf Championship in India this December.

Du Toit and De Lange from Gauteng will line up in the 15-17 age division, while Beukes from Boland and Berger from KwaZulu-Natal will compete in the 13-14 age group at the prestigious international event.

The team depart for India on 29 November and the tournament will be contested from 2-5th December at the Ridge Valley and Canyon courses at the ITC Classic Golf Resort.

Du Toit rose to prominence with a third place finish in the 2013 Sanlam SA Women’s Stroke Play and was selected for the Gauteng North B team for the Pick n Pay SA Women’s Inter-Provincialin Port Elizabeth last year.

She graduated to the Gauteng North A team for this year’s SA Women’s IPT in October, where she went on to win the qualifying round at Royal Cape Golf Club.

Following a third place finish at the Boland Junior Championship and a top 10 at the Nomads WPGU Junior in early January, Du Toit hit her stride and reeled in top four finishes at the Gauteng 54-Hole, Ekurhuleni Women’s Junior, the Nomads Gauteng Stroke Play and Gauteng Junior Championships.

She also tied for eighth in the Nomads SA Rose Bowl Girls Championship.

The selection came as a complete surprise to Du Toit, who ranks sixth in the WGSA Junior standings and caps a superb season for the 15-year-old Waterkloof amateur.

“I think surprise is the understatement of the year,” said the Gauteng North golfer.

“I didn’t even know about the tournament or that I was being considered. There are so many really talented South African juniors and the honour to be selected is a huge privilege!

“Unfortunately I am sitting my grade nine exams at the moment, so the time frame to prepare is fairly short, but I am following a slightly adjusted off-season training programme. I feel confident about my game, though, and I am sure I will be ready when the time comes to perform.”

De Lange was the only local amateur to make the cut in the 2014 Cell C SA Women’s Open and shared the Jackie Mercer Trophy for the leading amateur with Mathilda Cappeliez from France.

The 2011 Sanlam Cancer Challenge winner also made her debut for South Africa at the Africa Youth Games in Botswana earlier this year.

Thirteen-year-old Beukes from Stellenbosch climbed to the 18th in the WGSA Junior Ranking after a tie for eighth at the Ackerman Championship in September, while Mount Edgecombe’s Berger finished 11th in the same event. Beukes also emerged undefeated at the SA Women’s IPT.

WGSA president Karen Olivant will accompany the team and is certain the international experience will further aid the development of their games.

“All four players made a valuable contribution during the 72-Hole Teams Championship and SA Women’s IPT for their respective provinces, but I believe any opportunity to compete internationally is invaluable and we are excited to give these four juniors this chance to grow,” Olivant said.

“The tournament carries world ranking points and draws the top juniors from around the world. We are definitely going to compete, but we also encourage our players to learn a little about the local culture and to forge friendships at all our international events.”

Compiled by Lali Stander

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Danielle du Toit; credit Dale Boyce

Chips Shots with Jason Smith

Gauteng North’s Mens Player of the Year Jason Smith made international headlines when he held off 2014 British Amateur champion Bradley Neil from Scotland, 2013 North of Ireland Stroke Play champion Dermot McElroy and local favourite Stefan Cronje at Benoni Country Club to claim a one stroke victory in the prestigious South African Stroke Play in February.

Three months later, Smith made his debut in theAfrica Zone VI Golf Tournament, where he helped chase down the country’s 19th consecutive victory in the championship since 1995.

In June, Smith was part of six-man South African Golf Association team that travelled to Scotland and competed in the St Andrews Links Trophy, the British Amateur Championship in a two-day Test against a Scottish Golf Union side.

The Irene golfer received a late call-up to replace Christiaan Bezuidenhout in the three-man team heading for the Eisenhower Trophy at the World Amateur Team Championships. He contributed in three out of four rounds and partnered fellow Gauteng North golfer Zander Lombard and Gerlou Roux from Western Province to a tie for 43rd in Japan.

In October, Smith held off Central Gauteng’s Matthew Spacey at Germiston Golf Club to win the Ekurhuleni Open Stroke Play Championship by one stroke and joined Hennie du Plessis from Limpopo and Ekurhuleni’s NJ Arnoldi at the MCB Indian Ocean Amateur Golf Open in Mauritius.

After a runner-up finish in the prestigious international event, the TuksSport Golf Academy player and Arnoldi set off for Argentina in early November.

The pair combined for a ninth place finish in the Juan Carlos Tailhade Cup and the Gauteng North golfer also reached the top 16 in the Argentine Amateur Championship.

We sat down with South Africa’s current number three and learned more about Smith’s dreams and goals, fears and aspirations.

Q: What are the strengths and weaknesses of your game?

JS: My strengths would definitely be my driver off the tee and putting. I’m really aggressive off the tee and it helps when you hit it closer to the green, when other guys are hitting irons and leaving themselves much further back. My weakness at the moment would be my distance control with my irons into the greens. I hit the ball really well, but many times in a round I a great approach and it flies straight over the flag or the green and I walk off with a bogey.

Q: What are your most treasured memories in your career?

JS: Winning the SA Amateur Stroke Play is the greatest highlight of my career. It had a bit of sweet and better – the sweet part was that it was my first national victory and the bitter part was that my dad had to miss it for work.

Q: What is the most pressure you’ve ever felt in tournament golf?

JS: The two-footer I had to hole to win the SA Stroke Play. It’s hard not to feel the pressure no matter what you tell yourself…

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received? 

JS: Generally everything my dad tells me, is right and on point because he knows me so well. I read a lot and I found a quote that I will never forget: “Never a failure, Always a lesson”. You should never be afraid to fail, because you learn something out of every experience!

Q: Tell us a little about the start of your golfing career.

JS:  I started playing junior foundation when I was 14. I used to walk the course with my dad when he played but I never really played a proper round until I was about 13. To this day my dad wishes that he started me earlier, because we know this game is all about experience.

Q: What advice would you give youngsters just starting in the game?

JS: No matter how bad things may seem, don’t get angry on the golf course. Laugh at yourself when you hit a bad shot, but never get angry – the moment you get angry, you won’t be able to focus clearly on your next shot. That will just make you even angrier and you will not play well. My dad has tried to teach me this my whole life, but I only started listening recently.

Q: Do you think the future of South African golf is in good hands?

JS: Without a doubt! Especially having Mr Conradie as president now, I know he will help South African amateurs become the best golfers they possibly can be. He has our best interests at heart and he only wants to see us succeed as golfers!

Q: In your opinion, what player has had the most influence on men’s professional golf?

JS: Tiger Woods definitely! He changed the way people see golfers from being fat and unfit to well-built lean machines!

Q: Do you set yourself goals?

JS: Yes, I do. I think setting goals is the only way to progress in this game because you always have something higher to strive for no matter how good you get!

Q: As a youngster, what did you wish to become when you grew up?

JS: Ha-ha! My parents still laugh when they think back to what I said I wanted to become. The first thing I can remember wanting to be was a traffic points-man… I know right, what a dream!

Q: Tell us something most people don’t know about you.

JS: I have a marshmallow heart when it comes to animals, actually anything that lives! My conscience is way too big to kill anything. I once saw a bird get hit by a truck on the highway and I must have cried the whole way home.

Q: Is there anything you are addicted to or can’t live without?

JS: Golf is an addiction, but I couldn’t live without spending time my family and my girlfriend. It might sound strange, but I am who I am because of them and I love that! They tell me when I’m being a fool and when I’m changing and I love that they keep my head at a decent size.

Q: Biggest fear?

JS: There are not enough words in the English language to describe how scared I am of moths!!! But I still won’t kill one. Sometimes, in the early morning, I won’t go to the bathroom because I’m too scared to walk in the dark, so I will hold it in until the sun rises!!!

Q: If a song was played at the first tee, what song would be played for you?

JS: This is a tough one… Something that will pump me up, but not too much. Maybe Do or Die by Afrojack & Thirty Seconds to Mars

Q: If the made a movie about your life, which actress would you choose to play you?

JS: Maybe Channing Tatum… it doesn’t matter who plays me, as long as Katy Perry is in the movie!!!

Q: If golf was no longer an option, what other professional would you choose?

JS: I would probably give Formula 1 racing a go! I think, besides golfers, those guys live an awesome life!

Q: Tell us something you hate doing.

JS: Making food when I’m really hungry! It just seems like it takes double the time to cook and you eat most of it before it’s done, which is pointless in the end!

Q: What movie do you watch again and again and why?

JS: Never back down! Absolutely love this movie!

Q: If you were stranded on an island with just three things…what are they?

JS: Katy Perry, My phone and Wifi… really fast Wifi!!!

Q: Which three people would you pick for your Fantasy Fourball and why?

JS: Tiger Woods, Rory McILroy and Katy Perry. Tiger and Rory are the best players that our generation will see and it will be awesome to see how they play, and Katy Perry is just so hot, might have to hide her from Tiger… hahaha.

Q: What is still on the bucket list for Jason Smith?

JS:  Of course every golfer wants to win a major, especially the Masters, but I would love to have a gym session with the Rock and Arnold! 

Q: You have been competing in some IGT Tour events between the SAGA national and provincial tournaments. What to do find to be the biggest difference between the two circuits and what are most difficult obstacles to overcome?

JS: I think the main two difference are that you are playing against some tour pros who have their sunshine tour cards and playing for money! They both add a different pressure to what we feel on the amateur scene. In my opinion The IGT tour is awesome but you need to play amateur golf to set yourself a platform to play overseas and test yourself against the best amateurs in the world!

2014WATC_JasonSmith

CHIP SHOTS WITH CARRIE PARK

Carrie Park’s victory in the Sanlam SA Amateur Stroke Play Championship and her rise to the number one spot on the Womens Golf South Africa’s Senior and Junior Rankings recently earned her an honours award from the Gauteng North Golf Union.

Her national breakthrough at Stellenbosch Golf Club in April put an exclamation mark on the blossoming potential that carried the 17-year-old South Korean to the number one spot in the GNGU Ladies Rankings.

Park underlined her growing stature when she drained a 10-footer for birdie at the 16th hole and held her nerve to par the 18th to seal a one shot victory for the biggest achievement in her career.

However, Park has been in superior form since last year when she celebrated victories at the Gauteng Junior and the Ackerman Championships and reeled in seven top five finishes, including runner-up spots in the Eastern Cape and Boland Championships

The GFG Academy member kicked off the 2014 season with victory at the Border Championship and vaulted to the number one spot in the WGSA Senior Rankings with her second podium finish in the KwaZulu-Natal Stroke Play Championship in March.

The Irene golfer supplemented her success with some impressive top five finishes this season, including ties for second in the Free State & Northern Cape Championship and the Gauteng 54-Hole Championship, third place finishes at the Eastern Province Championship, Curro SA World Junior International and Nomads SA Rose Bowl Championship and a fourth place at the Gauteng North Junior Girls Championship.

She won the individual honours at the WGSA 72-Hole Team Championship in May, finished fourth in the Gauteng North Junior Girls Championship and reached the quarter-finals of the Sanlam SA Women’s Amateur Championship in August.

“Carrie’s individual achievements in the last 12 months have been impressive, but she has also proven her value in team competition,” said GNGU vice-president, Thea Nel.

“Carrie was a member of the victorious Gauteng North B-team that claimed the Challenge Trophy at the 72 Hole Teams Championship at Maccauvlei Golf Club in May last year and aided the Gauteng North A-team to seal their seventh successive Pick n Pay SA Women’s Inter-Provincial title at Port Elizabeth Golf Club in 2013.

“She represented GNGU at both events this season and her contributions were impressive, as always, and she also made her mark among the amateurs that competed on the Sunshine Ladies Tour with sixth, third and second place finishes in the Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies tournaments at Houghton, Glendower and Blue Valley respectively.

“Her victory at the Sanlam SA Amateur Stroke Play is the result of hard work, dedication and determination and Carrie is a wonderful inspiration for the next generation.”

 

We caught up with the talented golfer during her debut at the Cell C SA Women’s Open at San Lameer and learned more about the girl behind the dimpled smile and the lethal swing.

 

GNGU: Four victories and you have also been incredibly consistent and always seem to be threatening. What is the reason for your success?

CP: Thanks for the compliment. I really think it comes down to number of hours of practice and number of rounds of golf I play. I am more experienced than last year, and I’ve learned more. I would say that the proper golf training, mental coaching and fitness training are essential to success.

 

GNGU: How did you get into the game and who inspires you?

CP: We were still living in South Korea and my dad used to take me with to the golfing range with him. I decided to play golf when I was 12, so I started to practice. I kept with it when we moved to Australia and eventually here to South Africa. My golfing idols are Annika Sorenstam and Ji-Yeh Shin. I am also a great fan of Hendrik Stenson and Adam Scott.

 

GNGU: How did you end up living in SA?

CP: I came to South Africa in Grade 9 with my dad. He sent me in boarding school, because he was impressed with Southdowns College and he liked the GFG golf program. I also joined the Gauteng North Golf Union, whom I have represented at several national events.

 

GNGU: What is your lowest round yet?

CP: I shot 65 at Zwartkop during a Gauteng North junior tournament last year.

 

GNGU: What is the best career advice you’ve received?

CP: Well, I have received a lot of great advice. Let see, one of my favourites – you got to do what you like and what you good at and you must do it properly.

 

GNGU: How do you balance golf with your other obligations, like school work?

CP: I don’t procrastinate. I try to do my work immediately as possible

 

GNGU: You are ranked number one in South Africa and you’ve won the Sanlam SA Amateur Stroke Play. What else is left?

CP: I would like to finish the season as the number one in the senior and junior rankings and improve my stroke average. It is sitting at 72.42 at the moment and it would be great to get it below 72.

 

GNGU: What are you working on?

CP: My coach, Graham Francis, and I are working on keeping my club square and connected because it has tendency to get shut and long on my back swing.

 

GNGU: Was winning the SA Stroke Play the best moment of your career?

CP: Yes, that was the biggest but winning the Ackerman Championship was one of my highlights, because it was my first victory in a senior event and kind of big moment for me. I waited for a long time and I won under really tough, windy conditions at Rondebosch Golf Club.

 

GNGU: So, we take it that was your AHA moment?

CP: Absolutely. It meant so much to me, because I’m in matric and I didn’t prepare as well as I would’ve liked for the tournament. I wasn’t hitting the ball well so had to rely on my confidence to know I was good enough, and I just had to play my own game.

 

GNGU: What advice would you give young girls just taking up the game?

CP: I want to tell girls that golf is really a lot of fun, but yes, it is true that it takes up a lot of your leisure time. Do not be intimidated by the boys, and hitting far is not everything in this game.

 

GNGU: What can be done to further improve the state of women’s golf in South Africa?

CP: I think girls who are interested in golf should be encouraged to play provincial golf, so they can increase their number of rounds and gain experience. The top ranked girls should play with them, so the young girls can learn and be motivated to keep up their practice as this will positively effect in growth in junior golf.

 

Parting Shots

 

If I got banned to an island, the three things I couldn’t live without would be coffee, because it’s compulsory in the morning, a mirror because I like to admire myself (hahaha) and my phone, because it has all the songs I love and can’t live without.

 

My fantasy fourball would include Hendrik Stenson, Luke Donald and Annika Soremstam. I’m a great fan of Henrik and Annika and I think that would be so amazing and worthwhile to play with them and I’d like to get an up-close look at Luke’s short game. I would love to talk to all of them not only about golf but stuff they like to do, their superstitious or whatever!

 

The questions I get asked most is if I am Chinese…nope, I’m Korean.

 

I never travel without dark chocolate

 

Before I die, I still want to bunjee-jump, visit 50 countries and shoot a round of 59.

2014GNGUAwards_Carrie Park_web

Stoop and Kruse within striking distance at Oppenheimer

VEREENIGING (18 November 2014) – Luke Trocado led the birdie barrage at Maccauvlei Golf Club to take the lead in the Harry Oppenheimer Trophy on Tuesday, but Gauteng North’s Hendrikus Stoop and Philip Kruse are within striking distance of the first round leader.

A six-under-par 66 left the Western Province junior in pole position on the jam-packed leaderboard after a low scoring day served up a sea of 23 sub-par rounds.

Trocado racked up seven birdies, including three over the last four holes, to finish two strokes clear of Stoop, Kruse, fellow Province player Gerlou Roux, Meyer Pauw from Boland and Tristen Strydom from Ekurhuleni.

While Trocado gave a shot back par-four 13th, both Gauteng North players navigated the championship layout with flawless rounds.

Stoop enjoyed a pair of birdies at the second and third holes and reeled in two more at the 15th and 18th for loops of 34, while Kruse birdied the seventh, 11th, 12th and par-five 18th.

The pair finished one stroke clear of reigning Nomads SA Boys U-19 Match Play champion Paul Boshoff and fellow Ekurhuleni amateurs Dylan Mostert and Stefan Cronje and two ahead of former Sanlam SA Amateur champion Ryan Dreyer, who leads the nine-man bus at two under.

With more than 20 years’ experience, former professional Roux always poses a threat, but Stoop is still riding the confidence of his second provincial victory at the EP Stroke Play Championship earlier this month, while Kruse has racked up seven top 10 finishes this season, including a tie for second at the KwaZulu-Natal Amateur Stroke Play Championship.

Teaghan Gauche, who arrived in Vereeniging on the back of a top 10 finishes in the Central Gauteng Open at the tough East Course at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington on Sunday, also joined the chase with an opening 71.

 

FIRST ROUND SCORES (Top 20)

66 Luke Trocado

68 Gerlou Roux; Meyer Pauw; Tristen Strydom; Hendrikus Stoop; Philip Kruse

69 Paul Boshoff; Dylan Mostert; Stefan Cronje

70 Ryan Dreyer; Fritz Orren; Jason Froneman; Garth Wolter; Quintin Crause; Jade Buitendag; Aubrey Beckley; Kyle Barker; Divan Marais

71 Armandt Scholtz; Teaghan Gauche; Michael Dixon; Herman Loubser; Tjaart van Wyk

 

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Gauteng North Golf Union.

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Hendrikus Stoop is one off the pace after the first round of the Harry Oppenheimer Trophy at Maccauvlei Golf Club; credit Action Pix Event Photography.