Top SA juniors primed for BFM Junior Series battle

PHOTOS – Jayden Schaper from Benoni and Casey Jarvis from Boksburg; credit Ernest Blignault and Carl Mwale from Eye of Africa Estate; credit Image SA.

JOHANNESBURG, 13 October 2017 – The Bridge Fund Manager Junior Series hits Gauteng for the first time on its nationwide journey with a double bill this weekend.

South Africa’s top junior Jayden Schaper headlines in the seventh tournament at ERPM Golf Club on Saturday, while fellow Ekurhuleni rising stars have doubled their chances by also playing the eighth event at the Wanderers Golf Club on Sunday.

All the Under-19 A-Division winners in the 18-event junior golf development initiative will have the chance to fight for two spots to compete in the highly-rated North and South Junior Championship from 2 – 4 July 2018 in the United States.

Back on home soil after his debut in the first Junior President Cup, 16-year-old Schaper is keen to throw his name in the hat for the series grand prize.

“I competed in the Junior Players Championship before the Junior Presidents Cup to guarantee my spot in the International Team and it was a fantastic experience,” said the GolfRSA National Squad player.

“The North and South Junior has the same status as the Junior Players Championship. It also draws the best juniors in the United States and top players from across the globe, so to have the chance to play in that kind of field is an opportunity you definitely don’t want to miss.”

English Under-14 Boys champion Casey Jarvis will lead a strong cast of Ekurhuleni challengers, including Nash de Klerk, Yurav Premlall and Kiera Floyd in both events. After a tie for sixth in the Clovelly leg in Cape Town last Friday, Jarvis would love to go the distance this weekend.

“Bridge Fund Managers will be hosting two regional finals at the end of the series next March, one in the south and one in the north,” said the 14-year-old State Mines golfer.

“With nine winners in each final, you have a one in nine chance to win the spot at Pinehurst. I tried in Cape Town, but came up short, so it’s all to play for this weekend.

“I played in the Optimist International Golf Championship and the IMG World Championship in the States the last couple of years. You can’t put a prize on the experience you gain when you compete against the top US juniors. To get into the North and South Junior would be huge. I also played at Pinehurst Number two for the International Team in the US Kids Van Horn Cup and to go back and play on the Major Championship courses is a huge motivation.”

The Ekurhuleni dream team could have their way at ERPM, but the Wanderers could prove tough with a field littered with top talents from Gauteng, including two strong contenders from the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB).

Carl Mwale and Cole Stevens flew the flag for South Africa at the Ciputra Jakarta World Junior Golf Championship in Indonesia and combined with fellow Curro Aurora scholars Woo-Ju Son and Kieron van Wyk to capture the SA High Schools Championship title.

Mwale, in particular, has been making great strides this season. He tied for second in the Gowrie SA U-15 Challenge in April, shared third in the esteemed Nomads SA Boys U-17 Championship in July and returned from Australia on Monday, where he an outstanding performance led to a joint 21st finish in the prestigious Jack Newton International Junior Classic.

“It will definitely be a dog-fight at both golf courses,” said 15-year-old Mwale from Eye of Africa.

“Everyone in the U-18 A-Division is competing for the same thing and we all want that spot in regional final. I think the competition is going to be very tough and everyone will have to bring their A-game if they want a stab at victory.”

In addition to the Under-19 division, the series also offers an Under-13 division, which is also open to boys and girls. Hunter Walker from Serengeti and Bryanston’s Stephanie Barbaglia will lead the Under-13 challenge at both ERPM and Wanderers.

For more information, please contact Peter Little (SAGDB) on +27 84 656 1102 or dmwp@sagolfboard.org or visit https://juniorseries.bridgefm.co.za to learn more about the Bridge Fund Managers Junior Series.