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Stevens and Macnab fly SA flag high at world champs

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Cole Stevens and Caitlyn Macnab grabbed top five finishes in the 13-14 age group at the Ciputra Enjoy Jakarta World Junior Golf Championship, while compatriots Symone Henriques and Hilmi Mallick both finished just outside the top 10 in the 15-17 age group at Damai Inda Golf in Indonesia on Friday.
Stevens from Gauteng saved his best for the last round at the Pantai Indah Kapuk (PIK) Course. The Parkview junior closed with a three over 75 to tie for third on 22-over-par 310 in the Boys B Competition with Seddhachoke Poompuay from Thailand.
The pair finished just two shots behind Malaysia’s Bryan Tan Wei Han and Dominikus Glenn from Indonesia, who shared the 72-hole lead at 20 over 308. Han denied the local favourite a wire-to-wire victory in a playoff.
On a day of high scoring in Girls B Competition, Macnab returned a final round 83 to secure a share of fourth on 20 over 236 alongside Viera Rosada from Indonesia.
Arpichaya Yubol from Thailand was in a class of her own as she closed with a 69 to complete a wire-to-wire victory on four-under-par 22, finishing 20 shots clear of her nearest challenger.
Gauteng’s Henriques carded rounds of 79, 78 and 79 to finish 11th overall on 20 over 236, while Nasa Hataoka from Japan claimed a 13 stroke victory on 14-under-par 202 with rounds of 69, 63 and 70 in the Girls A Competition.
Kousuke Hamamoto from Thailand defeated compatriot Atiruji Winaicharoenchai in a play-off for the Boys A Competition title after the pair tied at even-par 288 in regulation play. Mallick from Western Province closed with an 81 to finish 14th on 23 over 311.
‘Caitlyn had the opportunity to play the final round with the eventual winner and runner-up in her division,’ said Womens Golf South Africa vice-president Sally Greasley. ‘The trio had a very large crowd following them and she enjoyed the experience. Caitlyn said it was really inspiring to play with Arpichaya, who played phenomenally this week.
‘Although Cole was disappointed not to have done better, his overall performance was impressive given that he suffered with an eye infection that caused him much irritation this week. He refused to use it as an excuse and showed a lot of heart to tie for third.
‘Symone admitted that sloppy shots cost her dearly this week, but she also showed real character to fight back in every round and her 11th place finish underlines her fighting spirit. Hilmi’s final round started with a double bogey after he hit his second into the trees and his putter let him down, but once again he rallied to protect a top 15 finish.’
Greasley was impressed with the way the four juniors embraced the challenges this event presented.
‘It’s not easy to be confronted with so many foreign aspects, but they took to the task like real champions,’ she said.
‘When you take the language barrier, the foreign food and the pressure of a prestigious event like this into account and you add the heat and humidity, combined with a course that is nothing like we have at home, it could have been an overwhelming week, but all four juniors stepped up.
‘When asked how – with the benefit of experience – they would prepare in the future for overseas events, they said that they would prepare better for the conditions, like practicing wedge shots into hard greens with no spin and , and concentrate more on wedge shots into the hard greens.
‘They have made new friends. It was interesting to watch them communicate with players who speak little English and I was impressed how they all learned Indonesian phrases from their caddies. They carried the flag for South Africa with pride and were fantastic ambassadors for the country.’

McNab (left) and Symone Henriques at the Ciputra Enjoy Jakarta World Junior Golf Championship in Indonesia. Picture courtesy of WGSA


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