18-year-old Jaydon Schaper, who is playing as an amateur at the 2020 SA Open, hosted by the City of Johannesburg, is thriving under the spotlight after an excellent second round 67, which has left him one shot of the pace heading into the weekend, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN.
Schaper, who caught the attention on Thursday with a superb opening round of 65, while playing with Louis Oosthuizen and Christiaan Bezuidenhout, is trying to absorb everything that has happened over the past two days as he looks to rewrite the history books by winning the SA Open as an amateur.
Speaking about his approach for the next two rounds, Schaper indicates that he will try to keep his routines as simple and basic as possible in order to avoid unnecessary pressure.
‘It’s the same golf course, just a different field so I’m just going to keep it the same as any amateur event I play in or any normal round of golf. Obviously there will be a bit of nerves but I kind of enjoy them and feed off of them – I’m just looking forward to start off the weekend,’ said Schaper.
Playing alongside players like Oosthuizen and Bezuidenhout was a special occasion for the young man, who tries to learn as much as possible from them.
‘Playing out there with Louis, who is one of my idols, and Christiaan today made it so much more special. I put the work in with my coach and the shots were there on offer.’
Schaper showed remarkable composure after making bogeys on the 7th and 8th hole to come back with five birdies on the back nine of the Firethorn course.
‘After the drop shots you don’t want to see yourself in that position, especially when the cuts at these competitions can be so low. I just said to myself to not look at the bottom or the cut and rather look at the guys in front of me and start chasing them. Luckily I got the putter to start working and the puts started to drop,’ said Schaper.
He does, however, admit that the wind and tricky conditions on Friday made it difficult to judge the shots he played.
‘The wind was quite hard to judge and was swirling around the trees. I struggled on the front nine because I couldn’t get a break with the wind and certain shots onto the flags. It changed around at the back nine and I just trusted my gut – hitting the shots that I needed to hit.’