Kestern set for Jr Open Championsship

HARARE - Zimbabawe's leading 16-year-old golfer Justin Kersten hopes to leave an indelible mark at the Junior Open Championship that tees off on Monday at West Lancashire Golf Club in England.

The tournament runs concurrently with British Open Championship, golf’s third major tournament, which will be taking place at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake in England.

The Falcon College pupil, who departs for the Championship today, will be Zimbabwe’s lone representative at the biennial event which is played over three rounds of stroke-play.

The multi-talented Kersten, who also plays for the Zimbabwe junior squash team, booked his ticket to England by virtue of tipping David Amm to the number one spot on the Zimbabwe Junior Golf Association order of merit as of end of April.

“He is obviously very excited at the opportunity. He has been working towards this for the last two years,” Justin’s father Paul said yesterday.

“We have a thriving junior golf system here in Bulawayo and he has worked his way up in the last five years.”

Kersten will be hoping for better fortunes at the Junior Open Championship after finishing tied on 56 on the individual standings at the recently held Junior Golf World Cup in Japan.

In Japan, Kersten carded rounds of 80, 81, 75 and 71 to finish on 23-over-par 307.

“I think the most important thing is that he will be rubbing shoulders with the top golfers from around the world,” Paul said.

“He will get a perspective of where he stands with other golfers of his age around the world and that’s a positive.”

Justin’s father, who is also the president for Matebeleland Junior Golf Association, said the championship was a stepping stone.

“The objective of the Junior Open Champs is identifying the upcoming talent from around the world, who, two years later as 18-year-olds, will proceed to the Orange Bowl in America,” Paul said.

“Golf can be a stepping stone. It will be impossible for Zimbabweans to afford US colleges if it was not for scholarships. But if he is good enough, people will start paying attention.

“The next step will be the Orange Bowl where colleges  will have plenty talent scouts waiting to give young golfers who impress a chance to play NCAA Golf which is the highest standard of amateur golf in the world.”

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