South African juniors Deon Germishuys and Danielle du Toit made a battling start to the 2016 Duke of York Young Champions Trophy in fickle weather conditions at Royal Birkdale in England in Tuesday.
The first round teed off in sunny conditions, but heavy rain, thunder and lightning contributed to a difficult afternoon on the course.
Germishuys from Western Province offset three bogeys with a trio of birdies, but a costly triple at the par four eighth saw the reigning Nomads SA Boys U-19 Stroke Play champion finish in a tie for 15th on three-over-par 75.
‘Deon started well with five straight pars, but a pair of bogeys followed by a triple saw him go five over through eight,’ said Womens Golf South Africa Vice-President Sally Greasley.
‘He made a great birdie at nine to turn four over, and managed to sandwich a bogey at 14 between a pair of birdies on the back nine to claw his way back to three over.’
Nomads SA Girls champion Du Toit battled both a balky driver and the stormy afternoon conditions to open with an 80 and the Gauteng North player had to settle for a share of 31st.
‘Danielle’s driver let her down and she punished for some wayward drives that found the penalising rough on several holes,’ said Greasley. ‘She started quite well with a great recovery from a deep bunker on the first, but visited more bunkers on the next three holes and dropped five shots on the front nine. She bogeyed the very tough par three 12th after just missing out on a birdie at the previous hole.
‘With the weather at its worst, she made a solid par at the 13th and followed bogeys at 14 and 15 with her best drive of the day at 16. Her second shot landed three feet short of the cup, setting her up for her first birdie of the round.
‘Danielle had another superb drive at 17, but made the mistake of going for a green that is guarded by bunkers and deep rough. Her approach disappeared in the thistles and she was forced to hit a provisional. Luckily, she recovered her ball, but she could only move it a few inches and her fourth caught the deep greenside bunker.
‘After a disappointing seven at 17, she hit a superb drive and approach into the final hole and finished off with another birdie. Not surprisingly, she headed straight for the driving range after the round to try to tame the driver.
‘Both players realised they need to stick to fairways and greens to keep the blue numbers of their cards The course is playing incredibly long and the rough is very deep and thick. You can count yourself lucky if you find your ball, but you can’t do much with it most of the time.’
Markus Braadlie made the most of an early start to set the first round target at three-under-par 69.
The Norwegian will start today’s second round two shots clear of Austrian Mazimillian Steinlechner, Julie McCarthy from Ireland, the Dane Basmus Hoigaard and Chiara Tamburlini from Switzerland.
A total of 49 top ranked junior from 28 countries lined up in the 16th edition of The Duke of York Young Champions Trophy.
Picture of Germishuys and Du Toit ahead of the first round at the Duke of York Young Champions Trophy at Royal Birkdale courtesy of WGSA