Jere wins thrilling playoff as Oubaai bares its teeth
16-year-old Jere Brits of Paarl battled howling wind and lashing rain to win a playoff at Oubaai Golf Club on Sunday 26 January 2020 and qualify for the regional final of the prestigious Bridge Fund Managers Junior Series.
“It was raining cats and dogs so I carried extra towels to try and keep my hands dry,” said Jere, of a day when the magnificent Oubaai course bared its teeth. “The wind was a factor with every shot and it was extremely difficult to have a steady putting stroke. But I managed to get round with only 26 putts, which took immense concentration!”
The Oubaai tournament was won by Jan Stals van Rooyen of Clovelly Country Cub, but Jan had already qualified for the regional finals of the #BridgeJuniorSeries which meant runners-up Jere and local golfer Joshua Burki had to playoff to earn the qualifying spot.
Given the challenging conditions, Jere took a cautious approach in the playoff: “I played it safe, by hitting a low driver to the left edge of the fairway. But my second shot was not that great (must have been my nerves kicking in) and my six iron into the wind missed the green by about 10m,” explained Jere, who attends the Golf School of Excellence Cape Town at the Paul McKenzie Golf Academy.
Jere gathered his thoughts as he approached the green, knowing his chip would be the “deal breaker”. A skilful up-and-down was enough to win as Joshua bogeyed.
By qualifying for the regional finals in April 2020, Jere will line up against an elite field competing for the ultimate prize of an all-expenses paid trip to the North and South Junior Championship at Pinehurst, North Carolina which has hosted three US Opens, the PGA Championships and the Ryder Cup.
He believes having played in the regional final last season will be an advantage. “I am a year older, more focused and working very hard on my swing and composure. The competition will be tough, but I am up for the challenge,” said Jere, who lives on Boschenmeer Golf Estate.
Winning the regional final is one of his goals for 2020, but so is playing under par more consistently. In the longer term he aims to win a golfing scholarship to a US college, and play both the European and PGA tours. “I know that there are a lot of brilliant golfers out there, so it will not be easy. But it’s been a dream of mine since I was five.”
Asked what he enjoys about golf, Jere said: “It keeps me humble and every day on the course is a challenge. I meet great people and being able to share this passion with both my parents is also a plus – we play golf together as a family. I have also been privileged to play in the US, Scotland and Germany, which I will always treasure.”
Paul Stewart, Chief Executive at Bridge Fund Managers, said Jere had been a loyal supporter of the Bridge Junior Series and should be proud of having qualified for the regional finals in successive years: “He is a welcome addition to the elite field who will compete for that spot at Pinehurst.”
The #BridgeJuniorSeries launched in 2017, is managed by the SA Golf Development Board and endorsed by GolfRSA. Open to boys and girls in the U13 and U19 divisions, it is played across 18 tournaments hosted by leading courses countrywide.
Paul Stewart, Chief Executive Officer – 021 4920210. firstname.lastname@example.org
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