14-year-old Stephanie Barbaglia was in sizzling form as she beat a top-class field of golfers to become the first girl to win a Bridge Fund Managers Junior Series title this season. Stephanie, a Benmore resident who attends the ESCA School Wanderers, won the title by beating Liam van Deventer in a playoff at Germiston GC on 12 January 2020. 

Liam, a member of Magaliespark CC, had earlier birdied the final three holes to match Stephanie’s score of 69. They were closely challenged by Kiera Floyd and Nikhil Rama who ended a shot off the pace. Between them the foursome recorded a remarkable 22 birdies on the day.

“I wasn’t aware of all the birdies being made throughout the round. I just stayed focused on my golf and tried to shoot the best score I could,” explained Stephanie, who is a member of Bryanston CC.

“The key moments in my round were the final four holes of the front nine. I lost my swing a little bit and missed the greens and landed in bunkers on both the 6th and 7th holes. But I managed to get up and down both times, which helped with my score and my confidence. Then I made two birdies in a row, which made me believe that I could win the tournament.”

Stephanie will join other #BridgeJuniorSeries tournament winners at the regional final in April 2020, where the prize is an all-expenses paid trip to the North and South Junior Championship at Pinehurst, North Carolina which has hosted three US Opens, the PGA Championships and the Ryder Cup.

“I wasn’t aware that by winning you could have a chance to play in the USA. I found out just before the playoff when they were giving us the rules and explaining how we could stand a chance of playing in the USA. When I heard this it made me more motivated to win,” said Stephanie.

Stephanie loves golf because it is as game you can play all your life and it offers opportunity to get into a top university and to travel the world. 

“My goals for 2020 are to break in to the Top 5 of the Golf RSA u19 rankings and the Top 10 of the open rankings. My long term goals are to get into a college in America, then earn my LPGA tour card and become one of the best female golfers of all time,” she said.

“Stephanie’s display during the round and in the tense playoff was exceptional, especially when you consider she is just 14 years of age,” said Paul Stewart, Chief Executive at Bridge Fund Managers. “The boys who have already qualified for the regional final are going to have to watch out for this talented and goal-driven youngster.” 

The #BridgeJuniorSeries launched in 2017, is managed by the SA Golf Development Board and endorsed by GolfRSA. Open to boys and girls in the U13 and U19 divisions, it is played across 18 tournaments hosted by leading courses countrywide.

Golfers in the north have two more opportunities to qualify for the regional final, at Wingate Park on March 1 and State Mines on 8 March 2020. Visit juniorseries.bridgefm.co.za for the full schedule and entry mechanism, or contact Peter Little of the SAGDB on littlegolfers2@gmail.com.

Media Contacts:Paul Stewart, Chief Executive Officer – 021 4920210. paul.stewart@bridgefm.co.za