Ekurhuleni’s Kyle McClatchie and Kaleigh Telfer from Gauteng are primed for their Summer Youth Olympics debut at the Zhongshan International Golf Club in China on Tuesday.
The South African juniors had their first glimpse of the championship layout in Nanjing during Sunday’s first official practice round on Sunday.
Accompanied by code manager Gavin Reynolds, Telfer and McClatchie joined the players from 31 other nations at the venue where golf will make its historic debut from 19 to 26 August.
Reynolds, a member of the South African Golf Association Executive and club captain at Mossel Bay Golf Club, was pleased with their preparation.
“Kyle and Kaleigh practiced with Paul Elissalde and Marion Veysseyre from the French team,” he said. “Although Kaleigh is struggling with muscle spasms, she is seeing the physiotherapist daily and both players performed well in the practice.”
Reynolds said the course will be a good test of skill.
“They had a lot of rain over the past couple of days, which left the greens soft and slow,” he said. “Unfortunately there isn’t much run on the fairways, but the course is in excellent condition and overall playing very well. A couple of the holes are very long and challenging, and the greens are enormous. Some of them measure as much as 60 paces.
“We didn’t see much of the girls, but there are some very good players out here, especially the boys from Venezuela and Mexico. Kyle is in good form though, and should hold his own.”
Both players had another chance to check out the layout when the team practiced with Robert Macintyre and Annabel Dimmock from Great Britain on Monday.
Telfer will tee off in the Girls Competition on Tuesday with Julianne Alvarez from New Zealand and Maria Merchan from Venezuela for company, while McClatchie will line up alongside Feroz Garewal from India and Norway’s Viktor Hovland in the Boys Competition.
Following their respective 54-hole tournaments, the pair will combine for South Africa in the Mix Gender Team Event.
The other nations that make up the field include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Guam, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Panama, France, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Swaziland, Thailand, and the Cook Islands.
Team SA juniors will also be competing in aquatics, athletics, canoeing, equestrian, gymnastics, hockey, judo, sailing, shooting, swimming, tennis, triathlon and wrestling.