Bryan Newman

2023 Nedbank Junior Challenge Trophy winner Bryan Newman. Photo: Supplied

Bryan Newman takes Nedbank Junior Challenge crown

Bryan Newman again demonstrated his ability to deliver in the pressured moments when he claimed the Nedbank Junior Challenge.

Bryan Newman

2023 Nedbank Junior Challenge Trophy winner Bryan Newman. Photo: Supplied

Rising star Bryan Newman again demonstrated his uncanny ability to deliver in the pressured moments when he edged South Africa’s second-ranked, Dan Bennett to claim the 2023 Nedbank Junior Challenge with a new tournament record at Sun City in May.

Bryan Newman wins big

Adding a growing list of big tournament wins in the last 18 months, the 15-year-old North West junior fired rounds of 71, 68 & 72 at the Gary Player Country Club to triumph by one shot on a total of five under 211.

“It feels amazing to win, especially at a course like the Gary Player Country Club. We have all grown up watching our heroes play this course, so winning here is very special,” Newman said.

Like the previous two winners, Yurav Premlall in 2021 and 2022 champion Stefan Jacobs, the champion will enjoy the chance to rub shoulders with golf royalty at this year’s edition of the Nedbank Golf Challenge.

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“It’s such a huge prize, and I’m really looking forward to it,” he said. “To spend time with the world’s top pros and have the chance to walk inside the ropes with them and to get a first-hand look at their process and course management is huge.”

Newman was only 14 when he announced his arrival on the national junior circuit with a wire-to-wire victory in the 2021 Joburg Junior Open. Last year, he led from start to finish in the Nomads Gowrie Farm U15 Challenge before successfully defending his Joburg Junior Open title, winning by nine strokes, again in wire-to-wire style. He ended the season at number one in the U15 rankings and picked up where he left off with a win in the 2023 Nomads National Order of Merit Coastal event at Selborne Golf Club in January.

This string of big titles suggests that the Pecanwood junior is on course to become a golfing star and he more than confirmed his status when he finished as the runner-up in the 2023 Scottish Boys Open Championship at Lundin Golf Club in April, ending the week as the top-ranked Under-16 player.  

Bryan Newman
2023 Nedbank Junior Challenge Trophy winner Bryan Newman. Photo: Supplied

Nedbank Junior Challenge winner seals the deal

Coming into the week as the top player on the U17 rankings, Newman trailed the leaders by three shots in the opening round, but the Pecanwood junior hit the front on day two and started the final round with a three-stroke lead over GolfRSA National Squad member Dylan Kayne. Bennett, along with Bernhard Koster and Morris Schiefner, were in the chasing pack, hoping to catch the talented youngster. 

A bogey on the first hole might have given them hope, but a string of pars followed by a birdie on the par-five ninth saw Newman finish the front nine on level par. After a drop on 12, he chipped in for an eagle on 14 and a birdie on the par-three 16th covered bogeys on the final two holes.

“I definitely played a bit more conservatively,” he explained. “I knew that the guys chasing me would come hard, and they did, but this course is a tough one to attack, so my strategy was to keep things steady.

“I drove the ball well in all three rounds, but a lot more putts dropped in the second round. My putting saved me again on the last day because I had a lot of two-putts and got away with a lot of pars. You have to respect this course, plan your way around it and play to your strengths and I think I did that well. I’m very honoured to add this title to my list of wins.”

Bennett fired a final round of 69 that included four birdies and an eagle, but ultimately the 17-year-old fell one stroke short of Newman’s record total. 

Kayne, who needed a birdie on the last to get into a playoff, made a closing bogey to slip back into third position, with Koster finishing fourth, the last of the players in red numbers.

The 78-strong limited field included 19 of the leading lights from the South African Golf Development Board. First-round co-leader Devon Valentine and Zinan Maimane led the challenge, finishing joint 13th on six-over, with TJ Sandys third best in a tie for 18th on eight over.

Nedbank Head: Group Sponsorships and Cause Marketing, Tobie Badenhorst, was delighted at the success of the third edition. “We are proud to have partnered with GolfRSA and Sun International to launch this major junior tournament three years ago. We continuously seek opportunities to support the development of golf in South Africa and the Nedbank Junior Challenge has exceeded our expectations.

“Not only does the Nedbank Junior Challenge showcase the depth of junior golf talent in South Africa, but it is wonderful to see how the SAGDB players embrace the opportunity to level up and gain invaluable experience at one of the top courses in South Africa,” adds Badenhorst

Every South African golfer who has lifted the Nedbank Golf Challenge trophy began their career in the structures of GolfRSA, and Tournament Director Ken Payet is impressed with the talent coming through the ranks.

“We are very proud to host this tournament, together with our longstanding partner Nedbank, and to play our part in helping GolfRSA grow and develop the game in South Africa,” he said. “The Gary Player Country Club is a challenging course which puts a premium on course management, and it is wonderful to see the progress from youngsters returning for a second or third year. It is also encouraging to see SAGDB players improve year on year, and to hold their own among the top-ranked juniors in the country.”