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Intoxicating Cocktail Set to be Served at SAJI

When 148 talented youngsters from 18 countries across the globe go head-to-head in the 2017 Curro South African Juniors International (SAJI) in South Africa this month, these top ranked juniors will have more than each other to contend with.

Durbanville Golf Club, known as the Jewel of the North, will play host to the prestigious international junior championship from 7 – 9 March and the shimmer and shine of pure talent alone will not be enough to tame the challenging layout.

Local head professional Lana Orgovanyi – a Ladies European Tour and SA Women’s PGA member and former number one ranked amateur in Belgium – says players will have to bring their A-game.

“With current water restrictions in the Western Cape, we have faced a tough challenge to keep the course in good nick for the SAJI,” said Orgovanyi.

“I think we did a superb job, but it’s not going to be easy for the participants. The fairways are dryer than usual so you’ll get a lot more run and roll, but if you miss the fairway the rough will pose significant problems and potential disaster. The greens run true and fast and we’ll aim for a stimp reading of between 10 and 11 for the event.

“The biggest challenge, of course, is the prevailing wind. The Cape Doctor (southeaster) is the single biggest defence of the course and when it picks up, the amateurs will have to think twice about club selection and course management. Accuracy off the tee box is non-negotiable and approach shots have to be pin-point. Errand shorts will cost you strokes if you miss the target and long puts in a howling southeaster will put the best players to test.”

According to Orgovanyi, the most challenging holes include the third, seventh, 16th and 17th.

“The third is a long par four, slightly down-hill with a narrow finish towards the green,” she said. “The seventh is a par 3 measuring 169 metres and it plays into the teeth of the southeaster. At 401 metres and slightly uphill, the 16th is the toughest hole on the course and it sports an undulated green, while the 17th is a par 3 that measures nearly 200 metres.

“We haven’t made any significant changes to the course since last year, although we did create a water hazard to protect the 15th green. It also comes into play at the back of the seventh green. We are yet again privileged to host the Curro SAJI and excited to welcome such a big pool of talented young local and international players.

“We hope to provide them with a championship course that will truly test their abilities. The event is paramount to the growth of junior golf worldwide and we hope to see many spectators supporting the players.”

This marks the seventh successive year that South Africa hosts the tournament and the fourth year that the event is sponsored by Curro Holdings.

The field will feature 79 of South Africa’s most talented juniors, while 69 players representing 17 countries make up the balance of the field.

The foreign entries include Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy, Namibia, the Netherlands, Poland, Singapore, Slovakia, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Zambia, Zimbabwe, as well as Australia, who makes a welcome return after an absence of three years with three participants in the Boys Division and two players in the Girls Division.

Over the first two rounds of the event, 11 counties will also compete in the annual International Teams Competition.

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