Zimbabwe’s Top — ranked junior golfer Keegan Shutt celebrated his first victory on South African soil in the Nomads SA Under-15 Championship at Selborne Golf Club at the weekend.
The 14-year-old sandwiched a flawless one-under 71 between two rounds of 75 to record a two-shot triumph on five-over 221.
The South Coast once again proved a happy hunting ground for the Zimbabwean youngster who won the Under-19 division of the SA Kids Golf Junior African Challenge at San Lameer last year.
He led the Nomads National Order of Merit Coastal at the same venue earlier in the week but took himself out of the title race with an expensive 75 in the final round.
Now Shutt has the satisfaction of putting a GolfRSA National Junior title behind his name.
“I’m really, really pleased to have pulled this one through,” said the Chapman-based golfer. “I want to give my coach back home, Roger Baylis, a shout out and thank my parents for their support.
“It feels great to be the winner. Credit goes to my parents and my coach they’ve been so supportive of me. From here and with this win, I hope to one day become a pro-golfer. It is important for me to test myself against older and more experienced players and to push myself and put myself under pressure.
“And a massive thanks to Nomads for supporting junior golf in these difficult times. Also big up to GolfRSA for everything they did during the tournament with the Covid strategies to keep us safe during the two tournaments.”
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Shutt opened with a 75 and trailed first round leader Ben Weber by four shots, but a solid performance in the second round rocketed the Chapman golfer to the summit.
He strung together 17 pars, interrupted by a lone birdie on the par three 15th, to start the final round on two-over with a three-shot lead over Johndre Ludick from Eastern Province, Southern Cape’s Reinhardt Uys 74 75, Ekurhuleni’s Marno Lange and Akil Maduray from KwaZulu-Natal.
“The conditions were just perfect on Thursday,” Shutt said.
“The wind howled on all the other days, but there was a light breeze. The last nine holes play a lot longer and is way hillier, with elevated greens and tees. It was nice to hit some confident shots and walk off with a 71.
“The wind was up again in the final round, especially after the turn. I played well and putted well, but the last nine holes were tight. It was a relief to know I had a couple of shots in hand playing the final hole.”
A visibly elated Zimbabwe Junior Golf Association president, Illunka Becker, said with proper guidance and support, Shutt will definitely become a world class golfer.
“I am quite impressed with Shutt’s achievement it really shows were we are with golf in Zimbabwe. Shutt is a very hardworking and determined golfer who always aims higher. I am glad he has managed to bag this accolade and raised the country’s flag high we are positive he will reach the top.”
Shutt’s victory comes on the back of the golfer coming 3rd at the Nomads Under-17 golf fiesta in South Africa, before settling for fourth position in the National Order of Merit Coastal Under-19 few days ago. –GolfSRA/Sports Reporter.