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Teenager Rothman takes on the boys for US prize

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Western Province junior Jordan Rothman has became the first girl to qualify for the finals of the popular Bridge Fund Managers Junior Series.

The 15-year-old Curro Durbanville scholar will compete in the finals of the 18-event national series sanctioned by GolfRSA in April, where she will take on some of the country’s best U-19 male juniors for the grand prize – two all-expenses paid trips to the USA to play in the prestigious Junior North and South Championship at Pinehurst.

Jordan, who only took up the game just over three years ago, already plays off a scratch handicap.

Earlier this month she qualified for the finals by lieu of a third place finish in the eight Bridge Fund Manager Junior Series tournament at Durbanville Golf Club.

Rothman was in sizzling form, making birdies on the first two holes and she grabbed the tournament lead when with a birdie at the sixth to move to 4-under par. A gale force south-easter caused her some problems down the home stretch but she had a birdie putt at the final hole to take the outright lead on three-under.

Four putts later she had to settle for an even par round; a momentary lapse of focus costing her the tournament win. However, she still qualified for the finals since the first and second place finishers, Tyran Snyders and Sam Simpson, had already won events in this year’s Bridge Junior Series.

Jordan, who started Grade 10 this year, is a sporty girl who loved playing netball: ‘But I kept breaking my fingers and twisting my ankles.’

Her sporting life was transformed when she discovered golf. ‘My dad plays and I thought if I started playing I’d get to spend more time with him,’ says Jordan. ‘So, I went to the driving range with him.

‘When we got home he said to my mom “this girl can really hit a ball”. He told me if I’d prove my commitment to the game by hitting 1000 balls at the practice range, he would sign me up for lessons.’

Just two months later Ian Rothman had to fork out for lessons after Rothman hit her 1 400th golf ball and her speedy rise up the national rankings began.

In 2017, the golfing world took notice when Rothman beat WGSA senior No1 Kajal Mistry in the second round of the Sanlam SA Women’s Amateur and in September, she was one of the anchors of the victorious Western Province team at the SA Women’s Interprovincial Championship in 2017.

Four putting the 18th at Durbanville was a painful reminder of the cruelty of the golfing gods, but Jordan has an unusual way of coping with inevitable miss-hits: ‘I’m a big daydreamer on the course, which keeps my mind off the bad shots.’

Speaking of dreams, Jordan’s goal is to hone her craft on the challenging college circuit in the USA, before turning professional.

She got invaluable career advice from South Africa’s greatest woman golfer and Major champion Sally Little. ‘I met Sally at Kuils River Golf Club last year. She congratulated me on my play and invited me join her for two rounds at Metropolitan Golf Club, which was a privilege,’ says Jordan.

Her goal of competing in the US could come sooner than planned if Jordan brings her A-game to the Bridge Junior Series finals in April. The nation’s best boy golfers will need to keep a watchful eye on their skirt-clad daydreaming rival.

‘We got involved with the series to boost junior golf and we have been delighted to see several players from the SA Golf Development Board excel in the nine events held so far,’ says Paul Stewart, Executive Director at Bridge Fund Managers.

‘It has also been terrific to see the likes of Crystal Beukes and now Jordan flying the flag for girl golfers. Providing opportunities for this rich pool of young talent will ensure a very bright future for South Africa golf.’

Picture of Rothman courtesy of GolfRSA


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