Strokes of genius of local teen golfer

SUNDOWNER – Curro Aurora learner, Cole Stevens shares his aspirations to play golf internationally one day.

Cole Stevens hopes to participate in the Junior North and South Championship in the USA. Photo: Supplied

Teen golfer Cole Stevens (16) experienced heartbreak in the Bridge Fund Managers Junior Series at the Wanderers Golf Club.

Cole shot a sizzling 67 to tie for the lead but had to settle for second after Kian Rose eagled the first playoff hole to win.

Cole Stevens (16) hopes to play golf internationally one day. Photo: Supplied

Even losing in the playoff could not dampen Cole’s enthusiasm for the new 18-event junior golf development initiative supported by Golf RSA.

He will be signing up for events in Rustenburg, Middelburg and Royal Johannesburg when the series resumes next year.

Should he win one of those tournaments, Cole will secure a spot in the national finals, with the top two U19 golfers being flown to the USA to compete in the Junior North and South Championship next year.

“Getting to play in the USA is a big opportunity to raise your profile and attract the attention of the top colleges,” said Steven.

Playing US college golf is part of his plan to turn professional and he is showing all the signs that his dream will be realised.

Cole plays off a +1 handicap and is capable of shooting the lights out, as evidenced by his lowest score to date, an 8-under par at Pebble Rock Golf Course in Pretoria.

Cole, who attends Curro Aurora, was on the team with Carl Mwale, Woo-Ju Son and Kieron van Wyk which captured the SA High Schools Championship title.

He also flew the flag for South Africa at the Ciputra Jakarta World Junior Golf Championship in Indonesia this year.

“I wasn’t on my best form, but it was a whole new experience,” he said of the tournament in Indonesia. “I loved the food, the culture, everything.”

He was introduced to golf by his great-grandfather. “I would hit balls into a net in his backyard. He recognised my talent and bought me a set of clubs,” he explains. He is now coached by former pro golfer Ashley Roestoff.

Cole will give his all to secure a trip to the USA when the Bridge Fund Managers Junior Series resumes in the new year, and he encourages young golfers of all levels to enter.

“It is a great opportunity to experience tournament golf, to be inspired and motivated by playing with the country’s best juniors.”