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SA quartet to the fore at Italian Championship
- Updated: September 2, 2016
Southern Cape pair Christo Lamprecht and Martin Vorster, Free State junior Wilco Nienaber and Ekurhuleni’s Jayden Schaper topped off an impressive week at the 10th Reply Italian International Championship with all four ending in the top 10 in Biella, Italy on Thursday.
The junior quartet all finished on six-over-par 298 to tie for ninth in the prestigious tournament, which drew 144 top junior golfers from a record 20 countries to the Golf Club Biella this year.
Reigning Dimension Data Junior Open champion Lamprecht carded rounds of 75, 72, 71 and 80, while Vorster posted 73, 75, 76 and 74, Schaper – winner of the 2016 Tshwane Junior Open – followed successive 75s with rounds of 72 and 76, while the reigning Nomads SA Boys U17 champion Nienaber followed an opening 76 with a 72 and closed with back-to-back rounds of 75.
This marks the first time since the Reply Italian International Championship launched in 2006 that all four junior representatives from South Africa posted a top 10 finish.
‘We have had some great individual performances over the years, but since 2006, only four pairs of two finished in the top 10 until last year when Herman Loubser, Luca Filippi and Luke Mayo achieved a rare feat of a hat-trick of top 10 finishes,’ said South African Golf Association (SAGA) Integration Manager, Eden Thompson.
‘We hoped that this group could better their record, and they delivered in style. These four juniors fought like demons in the last two rounds and achieved something extraordinary.
‘I am incredibly proud of this group, because they rose to the challenge every time the stakes were down to put themselves back in the fight. They showed incredible determination and focus.’
In addition to the individual achievements, Lamprecht, Schaper and Nienaber also combined to secure third for South Africa in the Nation’s Cup.
‘This year 16 countries participated in the Nation’s Cup,’ said Thompson. ‘This 36-hole team event is played concurrently with the first two rounds of the championship. We finished on 150, four shots behind the winners Germany and two off the pace from the Italians in second and this also marks one of our best results yet in the Nation’s Cup.
‘This championship annually draws the cream of the crop and our boys faced junior champions from all over Europe and other parts of the world. They held their own and handled the pressure extremely well. It was a stern test for them, but they not only played well as individuals, but worked well as a unit, as well, and left having made their mark on the international circuit.
‘I could not be prouder. These four young men represented South Africa, SAGA and their families with absolute distinction and we congratulate them on a brilliant achievement.’
In the picture (from left to right) are: Schaper, Lamprecht, Nienaber and Vorster. Picture courtesy of SAGA