Sun, 20 Jun 2021

Glendower's Yurav Premlall walked in the footsteps of giants when held on for a wire-to-wire win in the inaugural Nedbank Junior Challenge on a score of three-under-par at the Gary Player Country Club on Wednesday.

The 17-year-old GolfRSA national squad member carried a single shot lead into the final round, which soon became a two-horse race between Premlall and nearest challenger Jordan Duminy.

Duminy, the 2021 Boland Amateur champion and a fellow member of the National Squad, got off to a fast start and drew level with Premlall after seven holes.

A blocked tee shot on the difficult eighth hole saw Duminy sign for an unfortunate double bogey and Premlall carried a two-shot lead into the closing nine.

Duminy trimmed the gap to one shot again with a birdie on the par-five 10th, but the Louis Oosthuizen Academy member made costly bogeys on 12 and 13 to hand the advantage back to Premlall.

As they reached the closing stretch, Premlall looked to have the tournament sewn up.

"I knew that, with a one-shot lead, pars on the last three holes would give me a great chance at winning," he said.

"I really put a lot of effort into my iron shots and although I didn't make the putts, it was good enough at the end."

Reigning SA Amateur champion Christiaan Maas put in a late charge and finished two back, tied with Duminy in second on 1-under.

Premlall, who is ranked third in the SAGA Junior Ranking, was happy to make amends for his last outing at the Gary Player Country Club layout, where he missed the cut in the South African Open in December.

"To get the win at a golf course like this means so much," said Premlall. "In the SA Open, I hit a couple of loose tee shots and paid the price, so it feels good to get a little bit of sweet revenge on the course."

Premlall not only got to take home the replica of the famous Nedbank Golf Challenge trophy, but the Glendower golfer landed a once in a lifetime behind-the-scenes experience at the next Nedbank Golf Challenge with his victory.

"I can't wait to experience Africa's Major's from the other side of the ropes," said the excited young champion.

"I don't have all the details yet, but I'll get to meet players, watch them on the driving range up close and I get to walk the golf course during the Pro-Am. It's going to be epic."

It has been some months since Premlall ended in the winner's circle since his Harry Oppenheimer Trophy and Central Gauteng Open triumphs in November last year.

Premlall has been hard at work tightening up his swing and putting with his coach, Grant Veenstra.

"It's a real confidence booster that I could get the job done in stroke play. I had a couple of good results since the start of the season, but I just couldn't pull it through," said Premlall.

"I've been making changes every week to my game, so I've accepted that it's going to be hot and cold. But I know that when it all comes together and I start to play consistently, it's going to be a lot of fun."

New GolfRSA national squad member Daniel Bennett finished alone in fourth on a score of 2-over-par, with Hannes Strooh, who beat him in last week's 36-hole final, finishing in fifth on 3-over.

TJ Sandys led the 20-strong South African Golf Development Board squad with a Top 20 finish.

Although the 16-year-old Klerksdorp junior struggled to navigate the typically tough final round course set-up, he was just five over for the day when he suffered a costly triple on the par-4 15th.

Sandys also dropped on 17 but still managed to seal a joint 16th finish on 13-over.

CMR Golf Club's Rezario Adams was the next best in, tied for 31st on 18-over, and Alric Rooi from Theewaterskloof Golf Club finished 34th on his own, just a further stroke adrift.

Source: News24

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