Janko breaks through with U17 win
North West’s Janko van der Merwe fired a sublime final round of 7-under-par 65 at Bloemfontein Golf Club to win his first national title, the Nomads SA Boys Under 17 Championship.
Van der Merwe trailed fellow GolfRSA National Squad rookie Dylan Kayne, from Pearl Valley, by three strokes going into the final round of the 54-tournament but quickly made up the shortfall by firing three straight birdies at the start.
With Kayne makinging a bogey at the first, the lead quicky changed hands and an impressive tussle ensued.
The pair birdied the par-five fifth hole before Kayne fought back with birdies on the 6th and the 9th holes to take a slender one-stroke lead into the final stretch.
Unfortunately for Kayne, four straight bogeys from the 10th hole saw him fall out of contention, as Van der Merwe seized his opportunity.
The youngster from Magaliespark Country Club birdied the 12th, 14th and 16th holes to sign for a blemish-free round of 65 and a three stroke win over Kayne, who bounced back from his mid-round stumble with three late birdies of his own.
Eagle Canyon’s Jean du Toit fired a final-round 66 to shoot up the leaderboard into third, a stroke clear of Serengeti’s Marno Lange.
“I’ve been waiting to get my breakthrough for a long time,” smiled van der Merwe, “and I couldn’t be happier that it has come at such a big event.
“Ask any of the players and they will tell you that the Nomads titles are near the top of the list of goals for junior golfers in South Africa.
“Now that I have one win, I’m going to be gunning for more – it’s such an amaing feeling.”