Date: 8-10 March 2016
Venue: Durbanville Golf Course
Official Hashtag: #CurroGolfChamps
Twitter & Instagram: Curro_Golf
Johannesburg, 18 Feb 2016: Some serious challenges face the 141 top amateur golfers from around the globe when they tee off for the 2016 Curro South African Juniors International (SAJI) tournament, held from 8 to 10 March at the Durbanville Golf Club.
Significant changes to the pristine Durbanville course - new water hazards to negotiate, added slopes to deal with, the out of bounce tighter on some holes – will test the ability of these talented youngsters to the max in what is by far the biggest junior amateur golfing event of its kind in southern Africa.
As the only junior international tournament in South Africa, SAJI 2016 will see single handicap boys and girls from 20 countries challenge each other for top honours over 54 holes. It is the 6th time South Africa hosts the tournament and for the third year running the event is sponsored by Curro Holdings.
“There is no other tournament like this in southern Africa. It is a prestigious, fully integrated international amateur tournament on the local calendar and it is endorsed by the Women’s Golf South Africa (WGSA) and the SA Golf Association (SAGA), the local golf governing bodies,” says the Tournament Director, Erica Lefson.
In total 70 participants form European countries including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Northern Ireland, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands will be participating.
Included in the field are 11 countries participating in the International Teams competition over the first 36 holes.
In addition, 71 (49 boys, 22 girls) southern African juniors from Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe will challenge the top international European amateurs in this Global Junior Golf Tour scheduled event. Three of the South Africans that will be in action, Keelan van Wyk, Kieron van Wyk and Woo-ju Son, are part of the Elite national squad.
These bright young stars will have their work cut out though, as significant changes have been made to the par 72, 6045 m Durbanville course, dubbed the ‘Jewel of the North’.
On the 7th (par 3, 168 m) players will have to contemplate a water hazard protecting the green, the 11th (par 5, 495 m) fairway has a raised slope that will require an accurate tee shot, on the 14th (par 4, 361 m) the green has been raised and the out of bounds is closer than it was in 2015 and the 15th (par 5, 473 m) now also sports a water hazard to the right of the green, stretching about 50 meters up the fairway.
Durbanville Golf Club head professional Lana Orgovanyi, a Ladies European Tour and SA Women’s PGA member and former no. 1 amateur in Belgium, says they are geared up for Curro SAJI 2016.
“The course is in excellent condition considering the serious lack of water we have had in the Western Cape. The greens are running true and fast (measuring on average between 10 and 11 on the Stimp meter), the fairways are slightly dry in areas and tee boxes are in good condition. We have also just newly sodded several tee boxes in preparation for the Curro SAJI’s.”
The Curro SAJI qualifies for World Junior Rankings and the Royal & Ancient World Amateur Rankings, as well as SAGA and WGSA ranking points. These rankings form the foundation of a fair and accurate world ranking system that opens doors to scholarships that facilitate training at world-class academies. The event is also recognised by golf federations around the world.
Orgovanyi warns, however, that simply pitching up expecting to shoot a low score won’t be that easy this year.
“The biggest challenges these youngsters will face, are the wind and extreme heat this time of year. Last year the wind battered the players forcing them to adapt their game to try and beat the conditions. It can reach up to 35km/h. It’s the course’s greatest defence,” she says.
And the toughest holes this year?
“The 3rd (par 4, 393 m) due to its length, usually against a strong Southeaster, and the small green to target with your approach shot. The 8th (par 4, 322 m) is a delicate driving hole with a tight fairway and a strategically placed fairway bunker and palm tree. The green is narrow with long and subtle breaks.
“On the 16th (par 4, 406 m) the fairway is guarded on both sides by trees, so a pin-point drive off this tee box is essential if you want to give yourself a chance to reach the green with a medium to long iron. The undulated green is one of the toughest on the course.”
Orgovanyi adds it is an honour for Durbanville Golf Club to host the biggest and most prestigious international junior tournament held in South Africa.
“We are excited to welcome the many extremely capable and talented young international and local golfers to our course. We will do our best to prepare a championship course to put them to the test and show them our warm Cape Town hospitality.
“Such an event is paramount to the growth of junior golf in our country and we hope to see many spectators supporting the players this year.”
Her sentiment is echoed by Lisa Mackenzie, who heads up Curro Golf, “the Curro SAJI offers our local young golf stars the opportunity to compare themselves with the best international amateurs out there. Curro Holdings is proud to be the main sponsor for the third year in a row.
“We believe that golf is the ultimate life tool, teaching self-discipline, etiquette and patience. Curro prides itself on the excellence of our curriculum and we believe through golf we will achieve excellence in our co-curricular programmes in all our schools.”
Curro Holdings is a JSE listed private school operator aiming to make private school education accessible to more learners throughout South Africa, reaching 80 schools by 2020 and accommodating 80 000 learners.
Through its values, Curro creates a balanced educational arena in which many co-curricular activities such as sport and culture can be enjoyed by learners whilst not losing sight of the core essence of a typical school, namely successful learning. Schools within the Curro group include Curro Private School, Meridian Private Schools, Select Private Schools and Curro Castles. For more information visit www.curro.co.za