Oosthuizen impressed with young star Schaper at SA Open

golf09 January 2020 14:53| © SuperSport
By:Grant Winter
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Jayden Schaper © Getty Images

With his uncanny ability to hit a golf ball exactly where he wants to, to shape it, it wouldn't be amiss to speak of Jayden Schaper as Jayden the "Shaper".

If ever there was a young golfer destined to follow in the spikemarks of a Louis Oosthuizen or a Charl Schwartzel, this multiple winner of age-group events and full-blown amateur tournaments at such a young age surely fits the bill.

On Thursday at Randpark, playing in his first South African Open in the same group as defending champion Oosthuizen who is one of his idols, he never looked intimidated by the big occasion.

Oosthuizen shot a six-under-par 65 on the Bushwillow course and, not to be outdone, the "Shaper" matched this number, with a highlight being him driving the green at the 310m par-4 fifth hole, and rolling in a 40-footer for an eagle-two.

Jayden is the first junior in South African golfing history to achieve the ‘grand slam’ of Nomads SA Boys titles, winning the under-13, under-15 and under-17 tournaments and the elusive double at the Nomads SA Boys Under-19 Championship as a 16-year-old at Langebaan Golf Club in 2017.

He plays out of Ebotse Golf and Country Club where he is coached by renowned swing guru Grant Veenstra and he has been GolfRSA's number 1 since March 2019.

Schaper became the No 1 ranked junior in South Africa at the age of 15 and was 17 when he rose to No 1 on the GolfRSA Open Amateur rankings.

Last year he won the SA strokeplay title at De Zalze, shooting a 63 en route to victory in a tournament in which golfers from 23 countries took part. And apart from five other wins on South African soil in 2019, he captured the Junior Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in America, considered to be the biggest junior golf tournament in the world. Also, late last year in early December, he qualified on his world ranking for his second successive appearance in the Junior Presidents Cup.

Oosthuizen was hugely impressed with what he saw of Schaper on Thursday at Randpark. "Jayden's got this wonderful ball flight off the tee with a little cut. A lot of the guys hit high draws for more distance but what Jayden has is pure class. We'll be seeing him right at the top in the future."

Young Schaper responded by saying that just watching Oosthuizen – who his peers reckon has the best swing on tour – helped him with his own rhythm.

The last amateur to win the SA Open was Denis Hutchinson way back in 1959.

So does Schaper believe, after 61 long years, and at age 18, he can be the next?

He just smiles: “We’re all here to try and win but my goal is just to go out tomorrow, take one shot at a time and see what happens,” said the teenager who has his father Ryan on the bag, just like he did in the SA strokeplay.

Team Schaper – they're going places fast.