ST ANDREWS BOYS AND ST ANDREWS JUNIOR LADIES OPENS

In early August, two of Durbanville Golf Club’s and Pure Motion Golf Academy’s talented pool of youngsters headed off to St Andrews in Scotland to compete in strong international fields. Jordan Rothman played in the St Andrews Junior Ladies Open with Ayden Senger in the St Andrews Boys Open. They were accompanied by Lana Orgovanyi, Pure Motion’s Head Coach, who was able to spend time with them practising at the outstanding facilities at St Andrews as well as keenly following their progress in very different conditions to those in which they normally play.

Playing first on the Strathtyrum Course, Jordan had to negotiate 18 holes of qualifying Stroke Play in a field of 80 girls, only 16 of whom would make it through to the knock out match play. A bogey free round of three under par 68 saw her finish comfortably in fourth place.  Ayden began his tournament on the Eden Course, also with an 18 hole qualifying Stroke Play round but in a larger field of 158 from which 32 would go on to the match play format.  He began disappointingly, going out of bounds on the second hole and struggling to four over par after just four holes. Recovering well, he eventually finished tied 14th and made the match play with two strokes to spare.

With the minimum aim of reaching the semi finals, which were to be played on The Old Course, both began well in the match play format on The Eden Course. Jordan cruised through her first round match 8&6 against an English opponent to reach her quarter final whilst Ayden also progressed comfortably through two rounds into his.

The following morning saw Jordan continuing her fine form with a 6&5 win over a Scottish girl four years her senior to secure her semi final place. Ayden again began slowly and found himself two down early on.  Fortunate not to lose the 7th to go further behind, he managed a superb birdie on the tricky par three 8th and after his rattled opponent missed a short putt on the 9th, Ayden closed out the match on the 16th green.

And so the semi finals on The Old Course awaited. On a quite beautiful, sunny, windless day Ayden teed off at 0640 hrs against a tough Scottish junior, whilst Jordan was just behind him against the No1 qualifier from France. Both played quality and gritty golf throughout, Ayden winning his match on the famous Road Hole 2&1 whilst Jordan had to wait until the 18th green in front of many spectators to close out her match 1 up.

After a quick lunch in the 176 year old St Andrews Golf Club, both were back on the tee at midday for their respective finals – Ayden against a French opponent who had also led the Boys’ qualifying, Jordan against a Slovakian lady. Without any wind which might have favoured both of them, Ayden couldn’t quite repeat his morning form and went down 3&2.  Jordan and her opponent were in the meantime taking the course apart in the benign conditions.  Walking off the ninth green a superb 5 under par, Jordan nevertheless found herself one down. A couple of misjudged chips saw her miss chances for birdies and she slipped to two down. A halved bogey on the 15th hole was her only blemish in 77 holes throughout the whole week and when her opponent put her second on the par 4 16th to just 2 feet, also to win 3&2 and to reach a superb seven under, it was all over.

Whilst both were obviously disappointed not to have won, to have reached the final and play 36 holes on The Old Course in one day will remain a wonderful memory and experience for Ayden and Jordan.  Perhaps more importantly, both will have learnt hugely from playing in different conditions on true Links courses which can only serve them well in the future.

BRITISH GIRLS’ AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP

Not resting on her laurels and with just a couple of days rest, Jordan headed to Panmure – less than an hour from St Andrews and next to Carnoustie – to take part in perhaps her biggest tournament yet. A truly international field of 144 under 18 girls began with a 36 hole stroke play qualifying event from which 64 would progress to match play.

The first round, playing into a tough wind over the front nine, saw Jordan shoot a very creditable one over par 72 to lie in the top 20. It was clear that she had learned much from the previous week in how to play in the wind and show the variety of shots needed from the tight lies that Links golf provides.  The following day, with the wind in completely the opposite direction, she perhaps played even better, recovering from a double bogey at the second to record a second successive 72 and finish the qualifying rounds at two over par, tied for 12th place overall. This was an excellent achievement with so many quality opponents in the field and it was with great anticipation that she faced an Australian girl in the first round of the match play.  Disappointingly, Jordan couldn’t quite maintain the very high standards she had set and went out at the first stage.

Nevertheless, she should be very proud of her achievements in very different conditions over her two weeks in Scotland.

There is a saying amongst the friendly Scots – “Haste Ye Back”.  Both Jordan and Ayden should do just that.  Perhaps as importantly, Durbanville Golf Club should be extremely proud of them, whilst Pure Motion Golf Academy has shown its many up and coming Juniors what opportunities lie ahead with hard work and commitment.

Thank you to Lana Orgovanyi and Bob Rees for accompanying Ayden and Jordan across the world to compete in such amazing tournaments.

Thank you to Bob Rees for writing this incredible article about our two juniors.