Super-cool Schaper scores at Tshwane Junior Open

Jayden_JohanStruwigTSHWANE, 15 July 2016 – Just three days after his Nomads National Order of Merit victory, Ebotse golfer Jayden Schaper produced a nerveless display to defeat Ge-Rico Muller at the third hole of a sudden-death play-off to scoop the Tshwane Junior Open title at Pretoria Country Club on Friday.

Schaper made a dismal start in round one and was three over at the turn, but an eagle at the par five 12th gave him some momentum and he signed off with a 74. He began the final round four off the pace from first round pacesetter Bryce Leach.

After yet again dropping a shot at the first hole and sacrificing a three-putt bogey at the par three eighth, the 15-year-old began charting a course for the lead.

“I was tied for eighth when we started, but no-one really moved forward,” Schaper said. “When I got to the turn and I was among the leaders, I knew I could win if I kept a clean card on the back nine, and so I went for it.”

The reigning Nomads SA Boys U-15 champion sandwiched a bogey at 11 between birdies and interupted a run of pars with a final birdie at 17.

“I knocked in a 15 footer for birdie at 10 and boxed a 12-footer for the birdie at 12,” he said. “It’s a pity about 11, though. I was in the bunker and my approach just caught the edge of the green and then I three-putted. But luckily the birdie at 17 got me in the play-off.”
Schaper closed with a 72 and set the clubhouse target at two over 146.

Muller also made a shaky start with a bogey, double bogey combination and dropped further shots at six and 11, but the Kroonstad youngster was able to offset some of the damage with birdies at seven, 10 and 15 for a 74 to match Schaper’s target.

The pair split the difference in two extra trips down the 18th in pars, so action was moved to the par four 10th to break the stalemate.

“I hit a hybrid just short of the bunkers, but Ge-Rico hit three-wood and found the bunker,” Schaper said. “He was up against the lip, so he had to lay up and he hit his third to 20 feet. I hit my approach to 15 feet and two-putted for par and won the play-off when Ge-Rico missed the par-save.

“I’m really proud of this victory, because I had to work really hard for this one. I really wanted to win one of the Sunshine Junior Tour titles and I was sure I could do it after Modderfontein. The front nine killed me in the first round, but I held on and I pulled it through.

“The NOoM win on Tuesday was for me, but this one is for my parents and my coach Grant Veenstra to say thanks for all their support and for believing in me.”

146 Jayden Schaper 74 72 (3rd play-off hole)
146 Ge-Rico Muller 72 74
147 Franklin Manchest 78 69; Dawid Opperman 71 76
148 Andre van Dyk 75 73
149 Shaun Jones 78 71; Vaughn van Deventer 75 74; Dehan Joubert 73 76; Keanu Pestana 72 77; Kyle De Beer 71 78
150 Brandon Geere 76 74; Nikhil Gopal 75 75; Alex van Wyk 72 78
151 Dan Copeman 81 70; Slade Pickering 76 75; Marcus Taylor 74 77
152 Ivan Mare 77 75; Reece Haikney 76 76; Luke Mayo 76 76; Sentanio Minnie 74 78; Bryce Leach 70 82

PHOTO – Tshwane Junior Open champion Jayden Schaper receives his Sunshine Junior Tour trophy from Gauteng North Golf Union president Johan Struwig; credit Hardus van der Merwe.