Sunshine Tour

Freddie Tait winner Schaper ready to chase more records

2020-01-12 20:33
Jayden Schaper (Ernest Blignault)
Jayden Schaper (Ernest Blignault)

Johannesburg - Not since Ernie Els in 1989 has an amateur finished in the top six of the world’s second oldest championship, but 18-year-old Jayden Schaper did just that on Sunday in the South African Open, hosted by the City of Joburg, at Randpark Golf Club.

Paired with defending champion Louis Oosthuizen over the first two rounds, the GolfRSA No 1 fired rounds of 65 and 67 to head into the weekend just one off the pace.

Battling a unforthcoming putter on moving day, Schaper nonetheless kept pace with the frontrunners and a round of 69 saw him start the final round just three shots behind Oosthuizen.

The flat-stick was stubborn once again and he stumbled around the turn, but Schaper found the cup for back-to-back birdies on 13 and 14 and brought the crowd to their feet with a chip-in birdie on the 18th to close with a one-under-par 70.

A 13-under total earned the Benoni teenager a share of sixth overall and, as the leading amateur, he also joined the illustrious list of past winners whose names are engraved on the Freddie Tait Cup.

Although he couldn’t emulate Denis Hutchinson - who won both trophies in 1959 - Schaper is now the fourth highest amateur finisher in the SA Open, overhauling Jean Hugo, who finished ninth at Stellenbosch Golf Club in 1999. David Suddards was second in 1976 at Durban Country Club and Els placed fourth at Glendower.

It’s a huge privilege to be mentioned in the same breath as four-time Major winner Els, says Schaper. 

“That’s a pretty big name. Ernie is someone I’ve looked up to because he has been one of the most consistent golfers to play the game. It’s pretty cool to see my name up there with his and other names like that,” said Schaper.

“It was a special week, and one that I’ll never forget.

Like Branden Grace, who surged to victory with a closing nine-under 62 to win three on 21-under, this is the one tournament Schaper also wants to win.

“I really want to win this one. Seeing Branden coming down the stretch holing putts, watching Louis win last year and so many great SA golfers in the past, I also want my name on the big trophy.”

Records are important to the rapidly-rising Schaper.

He is the only golfer in history to record the ‘Grand Slam’ of South African Junior National titles - the Nomads SA Boys Under-13, Under-15, Under-17 and Under-19 - and also clinched the elusive SA Under-19 double when he lifted the stroke play and match play titles at the age of 16.

In March last year, he shot a course record 62 en route to winning the SA Stroke Play Championship at De Zalze Golf Club and became the first South African winner of the prestigious Junior Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in 2019.

"I like achieving records,” he admits.

“Now I’ve won the Freddie Tait Cup, winning the SA Amateur at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington next month is high on my bucket list. It’s the only one left before I will look at joining the pro ranks. I’ll be gunning for in the future and it will be so much more special because of the memories created this week.”

It was not long ago that Schaper was chasing autographs and he enjoyed giving back to the youngsters this week.

“I was doing the same thing not too long ago. We were living at Serengeti when they hosted the SA Open there two years in a row (2011 and 2012) and my cousin and I ran around looking for golf balls. Getting a pro’s glove or hat was really special,” he said.

“Walking down the fairways and hearing people shout your name this week was something else and something I will never forget. It will be hard to top this experience.” 

Although he was two-over through 10 holes, Schaper dug deep to play the last six holes in three-under.

“I got off to a rough start today, but I knew eventually something would drop,” he said. I was hitting the shots I needed to hit, I was so close to a good score. I love the pressure of it.

“Playing in the final few groups of the SA Open was a dream come true. I thrive in that sort of environment with so many people watching. I chipped in at the last and the crowd went crazy, I love moments like that. 

“I’m glad I could keep my cool in such a pressure environment in a tournament like this. Just to show I can compete with these guys, in just my second European Tour start. I still have lots to learn and I’m grateful for the opportunity.”

With his top performance at the SA Open in the bag, Schaper heads to Dubai next week where he will rub shoulders once again with the cream of the European Tour in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, for which he has received a special invite.

One things is for sure, a glittering future in golf awaits for young Schaper.

South Africa’s leading junior Casey Jarvis also produced great shots down the stretch for a 67 to rocketed the GolfRSA No 2 to a tie for 36th on seven-under 277 and fellow GolfRSA National Squad member Christo Lamprecht continued to get the rust off after six months away from the game to finish on eight-over.

Schaper and Jarvis will re-unite for the GolfRSA Senior Proteas team at Leopard Creek in early February, to challenge in the 54-hole team competition at the African Amateur Stroke Play Championship which kicks off the annual Africa Swing.

The other two members of the team are Martin Vorster and Sam Simpson, who played in the International Team with Schaper in the Junior Presidents Cup in Australia last December.

Leading scores after final round of co-sanctioned European Tour/Sunshine Tour South African Open at the par 71 Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg on Sunday:

263 - Branden Grace 64 70 67 62

266 - Louis Oosthuizen 65 69 64 68

268 - Marcus Armitage 65 72 62 69

269 - Jack Senior 67 66 69 67, Jaco Ahlers 66 66 68 69

271 - Hennie du Plessis 67 67 69 68, George Coetzee 65 69 68 69, JC Ritchie 63 72 67 69, Jayden Schaper (am) 65 67 69 70, Andy Sullivan 66 68 67 70, Martin Rohwer 66 71 64 70

272 - Harry Hall 65 68 71 68

273 - Maverick Antcliff 67 67 72 67, Johannes Veerman 62 71 72 68

274 - Gavin Green 68 67 71 68, Lorenzo Scalise 68 69 69 68, Tapio Pulkkanen 65 66 72 71, Keith Horne 69 65 69 71, Nino Bertasio 63 71 69 71, Min Woo Lee 66 69 67 72, Jacques Blaauw 69 65 67 73

275 - Jean Hugo 70 68 70 67, Erik van Rooyen 70 68 70 67, Garth Mulroy 71 65 71 68, Trevor Fisher Jnr 65 67 73 70, Richard Bland 70 67 67 71, Connor Syme 66 68 69 72

276 - Jaco van Zyl 70 68 73 65, Thomas Detry 68 68 74 66, Clement Sordet 71 67 69 69, Oliver Farr 68 68 69 71, Luke Jerling 67 70 68 71, CJ du Plessis 66 69 69 72, Juran Dreyer 69 68 67 72, Peter Karmis 64 70 69 73

277 - Casey Jarvis (am) 68 70 72 67, Rhys Enoch 69 67 73 68, Hennie Otto 66 71 72 68, Jeff Winther 65 71 72 69, Shaun Norris 68 69 70 70, Mark Williams 67 67 71 72, Matthew Baldwin 65 70 70 72, Steve Surry 69 67 68 73, Thriston Lawrence 67 65 70 75

278 - Joachim B. Hansen 70 68 71 69, Dave Coupland 71 67 71 69, Haydn Porteous 70 66 72 70, Marc Warren 70 68 65 75

279 - Julien Guerrier 68 68 72 71, Marcel Siem 66 69 72 72

280 - Philip Geerts 66 70 75 69, Gregory Bourdy 70 67 71 72, Antoine Rozner 66 71 71 72, Sami Valimaki 67 70 71 72, James Hart du Preez 71 65 71 73, Chase Hanna 70 68 69 73

281 - Deon Germishuys 70 68 71 72, Chris Paisley 68 68 72 73, Rikard Karlberg 70 67 71 73, Gavin Moynihan 68 69 71 73, Jonathan Caldwell 70 68 70 73

282 - Sam Horsfield 64 68 75 75, Jarryd Felton 67 71 68 76

283 - Matias Calderon 64 72 72 75, Hurly Long 70 66 70 77

284 - Jacques Kruyswijk 66 72 74 72, Wynand Dingle 68 67 74 75, Brett Rumford 69 67 70 78

285 - Estiaan Conradie 72 66 75 72, David Micheluzzi 65 72 71 77

286 - Rourke van der Spuy 64 74 73 75, Philip Eriksson 70 68 72 76

287 - Ruan de Smidt 66 72 74 75, Ross McGowan 69 68 72 78

289 - Daniel Greene 67 66 78 78

292 - Christo Lamprecht (am) 70 68 77 77

Read more on:    sunshine tour  |  sa open  |  jayden schaper  |  golf

 

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