TuksSport poised SA High School Champs hat-trick

IPT GOLF CHALLENGE6 August 2015 – TuksSport High School launched their bid for a third victory in the South African High School Championship with solid first round 219, but the defending champions will have pull out the stops to overhaul Waterkloof High School to celebrate on Friday.

The 2012 champions opened with an even-par 216 at Irene Country Club, courtesy of Estiaan Conradie (71), JP Cooper (72) and Eric Nel (73), and will carry a three stroke lead into the final round of the prestigious annual team competition.

South Africa’s top ranked junior Dylan Naidoo fired a four under 68 to anchor the TuksSport side, while Marco Steyn rallied from four over to contribute a 74. Rookie Richard Rodrigues returned a 77 and Sentanio Minnie signed for a non-counting 78.

Ruan Pretorius (73), Therion Nel (75) and SAGDB member Attie van Wyk (79) from Grey College in Bloemfontein combined for 227 to finish third, four strokes ahead of Affies and five clear of Glendwood House.

TuksSport High School won the championship in 2011, but Waterkloof High School claimed the 2012 championship with a runaway eight stroke victory over Dainfern College at Country Club Johannesburg.

In 2013, the glory belonged to King Edward VII School (KES), but Steyn ensured a second podium finish for TuksSport High School when he edged out Cameron Moralee in a play-off at Bloemfontein Golf Club last year.

The side started the final round four strokes off the pace, but Naidoo redeemed himself after a non-counting first round 85 with a 72 that significantly boosted their score, while Steyn shot 73 and Minnie posted 76 to tie Rundle on 446.

Naidoo could once again prove the spoke in the wheel.

The reigning Nomads SA Boys U-19 Stroke Play champion arrived in South Africa on the back of a third place finish in the Optimist International Junior Championship in Florida on Sunday and he certainly had the measure of the Irene layout.

He mixed two early bogeys with six birdies, including a string of three from the ninth, to finish three strokes clear of Wingate Park’s Conradie.

“We know Irene is a tricky course. It’s a regular professional tour stop and these guys know how to set up a tough test,” said team manager Bradley Nienaber.

“We didn’t expect the greens to be quite as firm and quick, and that certainly suited Dylan after his trip to the USA. The rest of the team started to catch on and I believe we have what it takes to challenge Waterkloof for the title on Friday.”

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Estiaan Conradie – Waterkloof High School; credit Catherine Kotze / SASPA