BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
ZIMBABWE teenage golf sensation Keegan Shutt enhanced his growing status as one of the country’s rising stars in the sport after claiming his biggest win on South African soil in the prestigious Nomads SA Under-15 Championship at Selborne Country Club on Friday.
The 14-year-old golfer, who is mentored by the legendary Zimbabwean coach Roger Baylis, the head professional at Chapman Golf Club, sandwiched a flawless one-under 71 between two rounds of 75 to record a two-shot triumph on five-over 221.
This was Shutt’s first GolfRSA National Junior title and came hard on the heels of another impressive outing at the same course three days earlier when he led the Nomads National Order of Merit Coastal before finishing in a tie for fourth.
The Chapman Golf Club teen was delighted to capture his first big win in South Africa and paid tribute to his parents for their support and veteran coach Baylis, who has mentored many junior golfers who have gone on to enjoy successful careers.
“I’m really, really pleased to have pulled this one through,” said Shutt.
“I want to give my coach back home, Roger Baylis, a shout-out and thank my parents for their support. And a massive thanks to Nomads for supporting junior golf in these difficult times. Also big ups to GolfRSA for everything they did during the tournament with the Covid strategies to keep us safe during the two tournaments.”
Shutt opened his campaign with a 75 and trailed first-round leader Ben Weber by four shots, but a solid performance in the second round lifted the Chapman golfer to the summit.
He held onto the lead in the final round with another 75 to finish two shots ahead of South Africa national junior team player Marno Lange while his compatriot Janko van der Merwe tied for third on nine-over.
Shutt attended St John’s College in Harare, but next week he starts a new chapter at KeNako Golf Academy in George, South Africa.
“I’m really excited about the move to the Southern Cape. I’m going to get settled in and then I’m playing all the events on the African Swing. It’s great to have this big win under the belt at the start of the season, and I look forward to competing in the SA Stroke Play, SA Amateur and African Amateur.”