Jayden Schaper has highlighted the significant number of young, raw talents currently roaming the South African golfscape as the SA Open tees off on Thursday.
Writing in a weekly player blog for the European Tour, Schaper, who finished in T2 at last week’s Alfred Dunhill Championship, recognises the fresh batch of young star golfers pulling their weight on Tour this year.
‘It feels like there’s a wave of young South African golfers coming through right now, and I think a huge part of that is because of how hard we all work,’ wrote the 19-year-old.
‘We have really pushed each other to be better. I grew up playing junior golf with Wilco Nienaber and Garrick Higgo, and we spent a lot of time playing together, travelling together and staying together. In 2017, Garrick and I were basically in a team together all year, playing in the Presidents Cup and all around South Africa, and I’ve travelled a lot with Wilco to places like the UK with the GolfRSA squad thanks to Mr [Johann] Rupert.
‘They are both doing well out here, and I’m pushing myself, too. I think there’s that inner drive in each of us, and we’re a group that have all worked hard to get better, which started with us competing for titles against each other and has ended up with us competing out here.’
Schaper won the Freddie Tait Cup when he competed as an amateur at the SA Open earlier this year, finishing in a highly impressive T6 at Randpark Golf Club.
Since then the young man has been shaping himself on both the European Tour and Sunshine Tour after turning pro, relishing the opportunity to improve and learn from the best around him.
‘I just felt that I’d done what I needed to do as an amateur and I’d proved I could be out there with the big boys. I had a chat with my coach and my dad, and it just made sense.
‘I’ve always believed that you’ve got to keep your goals in front of you, and that if I’m constantly drilling into my mind what I want to achieve I’ll eventually get there as long as I keep focusing. I’m not someone who would set goals that would be around making cuts, because I always go into a tournament hoping I have a chance to win, so I keep a list of fairly big goals that are still realistic,’ he added.