Durbanville - Michael Sherriff took early
control in the Boys Division of the South African Juniors International (SAJI),
while Azelia Meichtry from Switzerland led the Girls Division after first round
action wrapped up in the Global Junior Golf Tour season opener at Durbanville
Golf Club on Tuesday.
Sherriff and Meichtry were among only four
players that managed to break par on a very windy day in the Western Cape.
Sherriff posted a three-under-par 69 to
lead by one stroke from compatriot Willem Boshoff, while Finland’s Sami
Välimäki finished two off the pace. Sherriff carried a lot of confidence into
the prestigious junior championship, coming off a runner-up finish at the same
course in the Western Province U-23 Championship on Sunday.
The 17-year-old Bellville golfer notched
his first birdie at the 13th, surrendered the gain with a two-putt bogey at the
14th, but got back to one under with a superb eagle at the par-five 15th. “I
hit a good tee shot down the middle of the fairway, but it didn’t travel as far
as I intended,” said Sherriff.
“I still had about 210m left to the pin, so
I hit a four-iron straight to the middle of the green and holed a 35-footer for
the eagle. It was really playing tough in the swirling wind and that eagle
really gave my round some momentum.”
Sherriff boxed another long one for birdie
at the second and got to four under with a birdie putt at the fifth. “I was
hoping for another eagle, but I left the 30-footer a bit short,” he said.
“I three-putted for bogey at the par-three
seventh, but I made a solid birdie at the eighth to get back to four under.
Then I messed it at the ninth. “I drove it into a bunker, tried to hole it and
just got too cute with the shot. Still, I am happy with a 69 in the conditions.
It’s good to be in a challenging position so early in the tournament.”
Meichtry immediately impressed with a
sensational wire-to-wire victory in the Nomads WGWP Junior Championship just
four days after her arrival in South Africa in early January. The Swiss golfer,
who tied for eighth at the Summer Youth Olympics in Beijing last year, has been
honing her craft at the KeNako Academy in George and used her skill in the wind
to open with a one-under-par 71.
Meichtry had two bogeys and lone birdie in
her opening loop, but after dropping another shot at the par-three fourth, the
17-year-old junior rallied with three birdies over the last five holes.
She leads by two from South Africa’s Woo-Ju
Son, and has a five stroke edge on 14-year-old Isabella Holpfer from Austria
and defending champion Kaleigh Telfer from South Africa.
Fourteen-year-old Son from Eagle Canyon
also came into the championship carrying some great form. Son finished third in
the Border and the Gauteng North Junior Girls Championships and claimed a share
of third in the Sunshine Ladies Tour Open last week.
Meanwhile South Africa’s top ranked
amateur, Ivanna Samu - already a two-time winner on the South African junior
circuit this season - opened with a 78 to tie for eighth with Border
Championship winner, Bianca Theron.